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Defense Presents No Evidence At Fort Hood Hearing

Fort Hood memorial soldier
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News
A soldier gets down on one knee during a 2009 memorial for the 13 people killed in a shooting at Fort Hood. The defense team for the accused rested after just 4 minutes during a pre-trial hearing today.

It took military prosecutors nine days to present their evidence in the pre-trial hearing for Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.

Today, it was the defense's turn to present evidence in the Article 32 hearing, but Hasan's lawyers rested after just four minutes.

Here's the media release from Fort Hood public affairs:

Day 9 Summary Article 32 Hearing Statement by Tom Rheinlander, Fort Hood Garrison Public Affairs OfficerThe Article 32 hearing officer, Col. James Pohl, reconvened the Article 32 investigation at 9:04 a.m. today. Lt. Col. Kris R. Poppe, military defense attorney, declined to present any evidence. Prosecution declined to provide any other evidence.  Neither side offered a closing statement. Colonel Pohl concluded the Article 32 hearing at 9:06 a.m.

The Dallas Morning News reported today that thecase will probably go to a full death penalty trial.

With such devastating evidence, legal experts say, Hasan's lawyers face a formidable challenge in trying to persuade a jury to spare his life. Their best hope may be trying to put the Army on trial for everything that led up to the attack. That would mean focusing on how the Army could have prevented the attack or should have recognized Hasan's instability. Hasan's colleagues had reportedly raised concerns that he seemed obsessed with the idea that U.S. military actions amounted to a war on Islam.   At the conclusion of the Article 32 hearing, the presiding officer, Col. James L. Pohl, will make a written recommendation on whether there is probable cause for Hasan to face a full court-martial. It could be early next year before that report is complete. Once a court-martial is convened, the defense has indicated that it will demand that the case be moved away from Fort Hood. It could be months, perhaps even another year, before Hasan faces a full trial.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.