The apparent death wish of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, which brought his court martial to a temporary halt Wednesday, came as no surprise to veteran prosecutors who have handled high-profile cases involving terrorists.
Hasan is representing himself but is advised by a team of attorneys appointed by the military court trying him for the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting at a Texas military base that left 13 dead and 30 injured. On Wednesday, members of his legal team told the military judge the former Army psychiatrist appears to be angling for the death penalty as he represents himself in the military trial.
One of the attorneys, Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, said he is willing to step in and serve as Hasan’s attorney, a day after Hasan gave an opening argument that lasted less than two minutes and included an unambiguous admission that he “was the shooter” who killed 13 and injured 30 in the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at the Texas Army base. Hasan’s court-appointed legal team is refusing to be part of a process in which Hasan seems determined to become a martyr, according to one former prosecutor experienced in terror cases.