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Defense lawyers: Hasan wants to get death penalty, so let us off case

Defense lawyers: Hasan wants to get death penalty, so let us off case

Day two in the trial of the accused Fort Hood shooter came to an unexpected halt Wednesday morning, after standby defense attorneys for Nidal Hasan requested to either be reinstated as official counsel or be removed from the case entirely.  The attorneys filed a motion, explaining that Hasan’s strategy in court thus far has demonstrated that the defendant – who is representing himself – appears to arguing for his own death sentence.

From local newspaper Killeen Daily Herald:

Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, who was effectively fired by Hasan in May after the judge ruled the major could defend himself, said Hasan is working in concert with the prosecution to make sure the death penalty will be the ultimate punishment in the shooting case that claimed 13 lives in 2009 at Fort Hood.

“His goal is to remove impediments and obstacles to the death penalty,” Poppe said.

Poppe filed the motion on behalf of himself and the two other court-appointed attorneys still assisting Hasan.

“Should he decide he wants to fight the death penalty, then we are here and ready to defend him,” Poppe said.

Hasan objected, calling the attorney’s assessment, “a twist of the facts.”

In his opening statements Tuesday, Hasan declared, “The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter,” adding, “evidence from this trial will only show one side. I was on the wrong side but I switched sides,” according to Reuters.

A reporter with Killeen Daily Herald said the standby defense attorneys also submitted a FOX News article as evidence of Hasan’s desire to seek his own death sentence.

Indeed, in documents released to FOX News by Hasan, the accused Fort Hood shooter wrote about being on the wrong side, explaining his view that he is “Muslim first” and that he has to “help my Muslim brothers overseas,” and that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are “wars against Islam.”

In excerpts from a sanity board report also released to FOX News, evaluators described Hasan’s belief that democracy conflicts with Sharia law.

MAJ Hasan’s core religious conflict was “laws of man were superseding the laws of God…America loves democracy and it (democracy) conflicts with Islam’s Sharia law and it (America) is going to war to eradicate Sharia law…America tries to impose its will on others…Islam doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state.”

So far, the accused Fort Hood shooter has cross examined only two of the witnesses presented.  One was a former supervisor, retired Lt. Col Ben Kirk Phillips; the other was Pat Sonti, both of whom testified on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Hasan had been rated on his performance appraisal, “Outstanding performance, must promote,” said supervisor Ben Phillips, adding that everyone got that rating.

“I checked off that as I do with every officer because if you check any other, you basically end that officer’s career,” Phillips said.

Pat Sonti testified that on the morning of the shooting he accompanied Hasan to prayers at a mosque. Hasan took over the microphone to lead the call to prayer at the mosque even though it was Sonti’s turn.

Hasan asked Sonti if there was a protocol for determining who leads prayer and Sonti said the Imam signals the chosen person. Hasan was not chosen but did it anyway, Sonti said.

One of those Hasan did not cross-examine was Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot seven times during the 2009 attack.


Among the witnesses he did not question Tuesday was Lunsford, one of more than 30 people wounded in the deadliest attack on a U.S. military installation.

Prosecutors asked Lunsford to show the 13 jurors where Hasan had shot him. The tall, imposing retired soldier, who told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he still has nightmares about the attack, slowly got to his feet and pointed to each spot on his body where Hasan’s bullets hit him.

Lunsford talked about playing dead, hoping that Hasan wouldn’t attack him again, before deciding to flee when he realized he was perspiring.

Twelve witnesses were expected to testify Wednesday, according to USA Today, but testimony was put on hold as the court was abruptly recessed in light of the day’s unexpected development.

Court is scheduled to resume Thursday at 9am local time, where the judge is expected to rule on the motion.


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If he “switched sides” I would think that would open up the case to treason and desertion charges.

I don’t blame the lawyers appointed to help him. He is tying their hands.

I’m of divided thoughts about this.

If Hasan the Assassin want’s the death penalty, part of me says ‘Oh, sure thing there!’ and wishes for the reinstatement of hanging (a needle is too good for him) and flushing his cremated remains down a drain.

On the other hand, locking him away at the federal facility in Florence CO (everyone is in solitary confinement there) and then letting him slowly rot just to spite him greatly appeals to me as well.

    Bildo in reply to Miles. | August 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    So he’ll be a martyr either way. I vote for a life sentence then a quiet burial in a hog lot.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to Bildo. | August 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      If we use pork-laced bullets, he won’t be a martyr. Instead, he’ll be a figure of horror. He will be a sharp lesson to all future jihadists: we will deny you paradise.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Miles. | August 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    The killer wants the death penalty. Let us give it to him via firing squad. Some guy recently developed pork-laced bullets. Let those bullets be used, and let the killer find out that he’s gonna be shot full of pork just before they fire on him.

    Why? The killer is a jihadist. He has committed the slaughters that, according to Islam, would earn him a sex-soaked paradise. Pork touching his body will deprive him of that.

    So, let us give him what he wants. He has admitted guilt, so why is the trial still going on? Lots move to the sentencing phase: death by firing squad with with guns full of pork-laced bullets.n

What a farce this whole thing is…

Carol Herman | August 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm

We’re in Alice In Wonderland. As if Hasan ever stood a chance with any American jury of ever being set free!

Or, maybe, he thinks he has a better “shot” at the Appeal level?

huskers-for-palin | August 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm

“suicide by cop” comes to mind….

Lock him up for life in a kennel.

The role of standby counsel is not to handle the representation of the defendant in the case but to be available to help when asked by the defendant, if and when he wishes to ask.

It is not the place of standby counsel to run the defense or to seek to opt out because he disagrees with the actions of the defendant.

assemblerhead | August 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm

A real punishment would be 300+ years in Ft. Leavenworth on a strictly pork diet. Unclean!

No Early Release, No Parole.

The military would be full of idiots let him play the martyr.

An interesting note on the death penalty, and why there is no possible way that Hassan will be GIVEN the death penalty.

By the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), a death sentence is required to be personally affirmed by the President.

After putting so much effort into burying this so-called ‘workplace violence’ away from the public eye, does anybody think Obama wants a death warrant anywhere near his desk?

That would ignite a national discussion on the death penalty, and drag the TERRORIST Hassan back into the spotlight, something Obama and the liberals have tried their damndest to avoid ever since this happened.

The judge has been quietly given instructions to shut him up and put him in prison for life, and Hassan is screwing it up with his quest for martyrdom.

    Olinser in reply to Olinser. | August 7, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    On another note (you should add an Edit button to comments, btw), the last time the military actually executed somebody was in 1961, and he raped and attempted to murder a 12 year old girl.

    Bush did sign one death warrant while in office (for a multiple rapist/murderer), but he was granted a stay in execution in 2008, and as far as I know they’re just letting him quietly rot away in prison until he dies of natural causes.

Since he’s admitting this is war, can’t we finally give the victims their Purple Hearts and other attendant items?

Give him life with hard labor.

“Life with hard labor.” Now, that’s funny. Maybe, we could just put square wheels on his wheelchair, and let him figure it out?

The good news is that someone shot back at him. And, left him paralyzed.

And, the ONLY reason the gov’mint decided to call this workplace violence, is that they want to screw the military. And, this is the way they’re doing it! All the victims get screwed. Plus, soon? They’ll be forgotten.

If this clown didn’t just admit he did it. Which should have brought the “not guilty” aspect to a close … should have had the judge banging the gavel. “OKAY, now let’s begin the sentencing phase.”

Can you hang a man sitting in a wheelchair? Wouldn’t the rope just hoist him up, first? Too bad New York’s “old sparky” is gone. Cause then you’d just have to wheel him in … And, attach the wires.

Islam prohibits suicide. A defendant attempting to achieve a death sentence in a trial is just another flavor of “suicide by cops”. I wonder if Hasan realizes that.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Marv. | August 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

    THis is not suicide. This is the completion of the jihad mission. He killed the “infidels” and he almost died during his jihad. If he’s executed, he gains martyrdom because the execution if the penalty for his jihad. If we use pork bullets or a lard greased rope, he gains nothing.

Could be stratagem for an appeal. “I was obviously insane but they let me persist in an insane plan to get executed. Please overturn.”