FORT HOOD (CBSDFW.COM) – The man accused of the worst shooting ever on an American military installation on Thursday asked a judge to move his trial out of Texas.
Attorney’s questioned if Hasan could get a fair court martial if it were held at the scene of the shooting that left 13 dead and 32 injured. Army prosecutors claimed there was no conflict, but defense attorneys wanted the trial moved to Maryland.
Hasan was present in court, in full uniform. The former Army psychiatrist continues to grow a full beard in defiance of Army regulations against facial hair.
While Hasan never spoke, his lawyers argued that there’s too much hostility and prejudice toward their 42-year-old client, for him to get a fair trial on the post.
The courtroom isn’t far from the deployment center where the shooting rampage took place in November 2009.
Defense Counsel Lt. Kris Poppe told military judge Col. Tara Osborn, “Simply put, this is the worst place to have this.”
The defense not only wants the court martial moved from Killeen but also asked that the entire U.S. Army be excluded from the panel that will decide Hasan’s fate. They instead would like officers from other branches of the military on the panel.
Judge Osborn did not rule on any of the defense requests, but set a trial date of May 29. It is then a panel, known as a jury in civilian courts, will be selected. Panel selection is expected to take about a month and testimony is scheduled to begin July 1.
Hasan faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted.
The trial is expected to be months long and will include more than 270 witnesses.
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