Hasan in Bell County Jail

Courtesy photo - Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan will be held in the Bell County Jail until his court martial is completed at Fort Hood.

By Jade Ortego

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON - Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the man accused of opening fire on the Fort Hood military base on Nov. 5, killing 13 and wounding 32, was transported to Bell County Jail early Friday morning, approximately 20 miles away from the location of the shooting.

Hasan will stay in a 12-by-15-foot infirmary cell, watched 24 hours a day by guard, isolated from other inmates, Sheriff Dan Smith said Friday at a press conference.

Hasan was left paralyzed from the chest down after being shot by civilian police officers during the shooting. He has been rehabilitating at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Smith said Hasan would be allowed a minimum of three hours of "fresh-air recreation" a week, which consists of time spent with a guard in a 20-by-20-foot concrete room with a mesh ceiling.

Like every infirmary cell, Hasan's room is slightly larger than the average cell in order to accommodate medical equipment. It has a television on which he can watch a few local channels, as in every other cell, Smith said.

"His day will not be filled with activity," Smith said.

The guard is to "prevent anything that we don't want to happen from happening," he said. Smith said the threat of suicide was a factor. The jail will periodically reassess the need for the guard, Smith said, citing the high cost of overtime for such employees.

Hasan's medical care will be provided by a third-party that works with correctional facilities, in addition to a doctor provided by the Army.

It is believed that psychological problems fueled by antipathy for a war in which fellow Muslims are killed spurred Hasan's behavior. He reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" which means "God is great," in Arabic, before opening fire.

Smith said that Hasan would be allowed to speak and pray in Arabic while confined, and he may use a Quran. The jail denied his request to use an electronic Quran, as well as a watch.

Hasan follows the Halal diet, which refers to the food that is permissible under Islamic law. He does not eat certain foods, including pork, and animals that he does consume must have been prepared by a specific method of ritual slaughter. Hasan's family has provided a large number of meals for Hasan, Smith said, and jail officials will try to accommodate his requests as they do for inmates who follow the kosher diet.

Hasan's attorney John Galligan, who opposed the transfer, said he was able to visit with Hasan on Friday.

While he was upset that he was not informed of the move until after it occurred and that his client was not allowed to call him, Galligan said the jail was working with him.

Galligan will be allowed to see Hasan if he requests a visit 30 minutes in advance, Smith said.

March 31 began a 183-day $206,796 contract amendment between Fort Hood and the county. Smith said, however, that he anticipated housing Hasan for more than a year. While the county usually houses inmates for Fort Hood, the jail was not legally required to house Hasan.

"When (the Nov. 5 shooting) happened, it impacted the entire community," Smith said. "He needed to be as close to Fort Hood for an efficient prosecution. It is important to us to do whatever we can to facilitate prosecution in this case."

Hasan was airlifted to the jail from San Antonio by soldiers in the 21st Cavalry Brigade about 4 a.m. Friday, according to information from Fort Hood.

The brigade is commanded by Col. Morgan Lamb, who is leading the case at its current level, the Special Court-Martial Convening Authority level. Hasan's Article 32 hearing is set to begin July 1.

Contact Jade Ortego at jortego@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcourts.

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