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Court-martial recommended for Fort Hood shooting suspect

By Charley Keyes, CNN Senior National Security Producer
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009.
  • Also recommended is that the death penalty be sought upon conviction
  • Fort Hood's commander is reviewing the recommendation on Maj. Nidal Hasan
  • Hasan's attorney says he is "not surprised" but disappointed

Washington (CNN) -- The Army moved another step closer Friday to a military trial and potential death penalty for Maj. Nidal Hasan, the psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009.

The senior officer in charge of the case, Col. Morgan Lamb, recommended to his superiors that the charges against Hasan "be sent to a general court-martial authorized to consider capital punishment," according to a statement released by Fort Hood.

The recommendation is non-binding, it said, and senior Army officers are now reviewing the charges. The Fort Hood commander will decide whether to refer them to a court-martial or whether to send the case to another base.

Hasan's lawyer, John Galligan, confirmed that the recommendations were to refer the case to a court-martial and that Hasan could face the death penalty if he is convicted.

Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32 in a medical building at Fort Hood, the country's largest military base, in south-central Texas. Hasan and most of the victims in the shooting were being processed to ship out to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Galligan said he expected this latest action in the case.

"I'm not surprised," he told CNN. "Am I disappointed? Yes."

Galligan said he had not yet had time to inform his client about this latest development, which he first heard about from journalists. Hasan, who's paralyzed from the chest down after being shot by police at the end of the shooting rampage, is confined to a wheelchair and housed in a civilian jail near the military post.

Galligan predicted a military trial is still many months away, pointing out that he still has not been given a security clearance or allowed to view secret government documents detailing what intelligence agencies knew about allegations that Hasan had links to terrorists overseas.