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Hasan’s hearing resumes Nov. 15

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Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:17 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

The Article 32 hearing for Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is set to resume Nov. 15 when his defense team begins its case.

Hasan, who worked at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center as a psychiatrist, was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5 shooting at Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Processing Center.

His defense team, led by retired Col. John Galligan, was scheduled to start Nov. 8, but a scheduling issue with the psychiatrist set to evaluate Hasan arose. The defense team was granted permission by Col. Morgan Lamb, who leads the case at its current phase, the Special Court-Martial Convening Authority level, to hire a doctor to evaluate Hasan before the defense begins presenting evidence in the Article 32 hearing.

An Article 32 is like a civilian grand jury, and will determine whether there is enough evidence for the case to advance to a court-martial.

Three mental health professionals visited Hasan earlier this month in his infirmary cell at the Bell County Jail to begin his 706 Board. The evaluation is also known as a sanity board and is called to determine whether a defendant is competent to stand trial.

Galligan turned the doctors away, later saying it was his understanding that Lamb delayed the evaluation until after the Article 32.

Though Fort Hood officials wouldn't answer specific questions regarding the attempted evaluation, a statement was issued that read prosecutors requested Lamb order the board to proceed without further delay following a Sept. 16 status hearing.

"There was never any requirement that the 706 board be completed by 12 October in Col. Lamb's order," according to the statement.

Galligan has also made several attempts to bar the public and the media from the Article 32 hearing. Col. James L. Pohl, the hearing's investigative officer, denied both motions.

Family members of some of those injured and killed and reporters were allowed in the small courtroom to observe testimony. Others, including the public, were provided with live feeds of the proceedings in viewing rooms at the nearby Club Hood.

The prosecution team, led by Col. Mike Mulligan, concluded its case Thursday after eight days of testimony from 56 people.

Sgt. Alonzo M. Lunsford was the first to be called at 9:10 a.m. Oct. 12 at the Lawrence J. Williams Judicial Center on post. He was working at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center's medical building Nov. 5 and saw Hasan before shots were fired that day.

He testified that after making eye contact with Hasan, he was shot in the head, took two steps and then fell to the floor. He later learned he was shot four additional times.

John Choats, co-owner of Stan's Outdoor Shooting Range in Florence, was the last of the prosecution's witnesses to testify.

He led a concealed handgun license certification class Oct. 10, 2009, and said Thursday that Hasan was a student in the class. He also testified Hasan bought a membership to the range and practiced there with a pistol sold to him by another witness called Thursday.

Testimony came from those present in the courtroom at Fort Hood and from soldiers stationed in Georgia, Michigan, the Republic of Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. Health care workers at the medical building, investigators and the two Fort Hood civilian police officers credited with stopping Hasan were among the civilians to testify.

Defense attorneys spent a bulk of their cross examination asking soldiers injured Nov. 5 about their treatment, focusing on whether the soldiers received mental health counseling and whether they participated in the medical board process.

The defense also compared witnesses' initial statements to law enforcement officials in the days and weeks after Nov. 5 to their in-court testimony.

Also on Thursday, Galligan asked the status on the president's 45-day, Nov. 5 report, which he previously requested. Mulligan said he received word Wednesday from Washington that the report will not be made available to lawyers.

To read detailed accounts of the witnesses' testimony, go to www.kdhnews.com/forthoodshooting.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7547. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary or www.facebook.com/astairrett.

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