Fort Hood massacre suspect can represent self

Monday, June 3, 2013 - 3:23pm

An Army judge ruled on Monday that Fort Hood massacre suspect, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, can represent himself at his court-martial on murder charges.

Hasan, 42, had fired his private lawyer in 2011 and said recently that he didn't want military legal representation either, moving to act as his own counsel in the case that could carry the death penalty, if he's convicted in the November 2009 shooting spree.

Col. Tara Osborn, the trial judge in Killeen, Texas, determined Hasan was physically fit to represent himself after hearing from an Army doctor about his condition, a military statement said.

Hasan was shot and paralyzed from the chest down on the day of the massacre in which he is accused of killing 13 people. He can only sit for limited periods.

The judge had previously found that he was mentally competent to act as his own counsel following a separate evaluation.

Osburn said, however, that defense lawyers may continue to act as stand-by counsel throughout the trial, the statement said.

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