Fort Hood shooting suspect's trial to start as scheduled in August

Story highlights

  • Judge denies defense request to delay the start of Maj. Nidal Hasan's trial until December
  • Hasan is accused of killing 13 people at the November 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood
  • He's charged with premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder
  • He faces a possible death penalty
The trial of Fort Hood, Texas, shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan will begin as scheduled in August after a military judge denied a request by the defense for a continuance, Fort Hood officials said Friday.
The defense had asked to delay the trial until December. Instead, it will begin on time on August 20.
"The military judge also submitted to questioning from defense counsel concerning whether he was biased against the accused, and then ruled that he was neither actually biased and that no implied bias existed," a news release from Fort Hood said.
Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, was not in court for the hearing. He was dismissed from a previous hearing for showing up to court with an unkempt beard, which is against Army grooming regulations. He viewed court proceedings via "a closed-circuit feed in a trailer adjacent to the courthouse," officials said.
Hasan faces a possible death penalty when he goes on trial in August. The military has charged him with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in connection with the November 5, 2009, shooting.
Much has been made about Hasan's mental health after the attack at a building at Fort Hood, where he is accused of opening fire on soldiers who were waiting to be screened and complete paperwork before deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan.
After the shooting, radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki told Aljazeera.net that he had communicated with Hasan for about a year before the rampage. Al-Awlaki, a leading figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was killed in a U.S. drone strike that targeted him in Yemen in 2011.
The Fort Hood shooting rocked the military community. There were questions about how Hasan was evaluated, promoted and transferred to Fort Hood with plans to deploy to Afghanistan despite signs that he was having problems.
A military review of Hasan's records after the massacre found that he was promoted despite his supervisors' concerns about his extremist views on Islam and odd behavior.
A congressional report labeled him "a smoking gun" and ripped into the government for not sounding an alarm sooner.
As Hasan's case moved through the military judicial system, the families of the victims filed suit in November, seeking $750 million in compensation from the government for failing to stop the attack.
Hasan, who was shot by a civilian police officer at Fort Hood during the attack, is paralyzed from the chest down.