FORT HOOD — In opening statements, accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan told the jury point blank that he is the man who killed 13 and wounded dozens on Nov. 5, 2009.
"The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter and the dead bodies will show war is an ugly thing," Hasan said. "It involves death, destruction and devastation for both sides.
"I then switched sides," Hasan continued. "I made mistakes, that we the Mujahideen are imperfect Muslims trying to establish a perfect religion. ... I apologize for any mistake I made in this endeavor."
His comments came at the conclusion of opening statements.
One victim in the shooting took the stand Tuesday. Alonzo Lunsford, a former Army staff sergeant, stared down Hasan for several seconds before later pointing to the areas on his body where he was shot seven times.
Lunsford said he saw Hasan point a laser-sighted handgun at his head and fire. He said Hasan also shot him in the back as he struggled to escape the massacre.
"I did an assessment of myself, and realized dead men don't sweat," Lunsford said.
Lunsford said he then ran outside and was shot five more times.
The prosecution also called to the stand Hasan's former supervisor at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.
Retired Lt. Col. Ben Phillips told the court that Hasan appeared calm and collected in October when he notified the major of his imminent deployment to Afghanistan.
Phillips was the first witness Hasan cross examined, asking him to elaborate on officer evaluation forms that indicated Hasan had been given a positive job performance review just weeks prior to the shooting.
Hasan then asked Phillips about emails Hasan had sent Phillips referencing soldiers who had been ordered to kill innocents in war zones. Hasan said soldiers had been ordered to dump 50 gallons of gasoline into an Iraqi water supply and spoke of medical mercy killings.
It drew the first objection of the day, at which Osborn said his questions were outside the scope of the current range of testimony. Osborn advised that Hasan could recall Phillips at a later date to pose the same questions.
The final witness to testify prior to the lunch break was a man who knew Hasan from the Killeen Islamic Center.
Copperas Cove resident Pat Sonti told the court he saw Hasan during morning prayers at the religious center on the day of the shooting. Sonti testified the Imam there had informally chosen him to lead a call to prayer.
However, Hasan took the microphone from Sonti, a move he agreed with prosecutors was startling and "was not the normal protocol."
Hasan gave the call to prayer. At the end, Sonti said Hasan gave what could be viewed as a foreboding goodbye.
"He bid goodbye and told the congregation he was going home," Sonti said.
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