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Prosecutor: No question Hasan was Fort Hood gunman

Posted: August 22, 2013 9:36 a.m.
Updated: August 22, 2013 9:36 a.m.
 

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Military prosecutors asked jurors on Thursday to unanimously convict the soldier accused in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, insisting that evidence left "no question" that he planned and carried out the deadliest mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base.

Such a verdict would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is facing numerous counts of premeditated murder for the attack that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others at the Texas Army post.

The prosecutor, Col. Steve Henricks, repeatedly emphasized the word "premeditation," trying to dissuade the jury of even considering a conviction on a lesser charge that would take the death penalty off the table.

Henricks said Hasan asked for the highest-tech weapon available when he went to a gun store a few months before the Nov. 5, 2009 attack, and he soon began practicing at a gun range. Hasan also used laser sights, which Henricks said "established intent to kill."

The prosecutor also noted that the shootings, which started inside a medical building that was crowded with soldiers preparing to deploy, came on the same day Hasan had been ordered to be at that building ahead of his ordered deployment.

The last of nearly 90 witnesses to testify for prosecutors said Hasan had told her, without prompting, that the Army would "pay" if he were ever ordered deployed overseas.

Hasan is acting as his own attorney but has done little to defend himself during his 13-day trial. He rested his case Wednesday without calling a single witnesses or testifying in his own defense, and it wasn't clear Thursday whether he planned to give a closing argument.

He gave a brief opening statement in which he acknowledged that evidence would "clearly show" he was the shooter, and he described himself as a soldier who had "switched sides." He also presented only a single piece of evidence: an evaluation from his boss that called him a good soldier.

However, he perked up Wednesday when talking about what he said the evidence didn't show: that the attack was somehow impulsive.

"I would like to agree with the prosecution that it wasn't done under the heat of sudden passion," Hasan told the judge after jurors had left for the day. "There was adequate provocation — that these were deploying soldiers that were going to engage in an illegal war."

Hasan, an American-born Muslim, has been unapologetic about saying the rampage was necessary to protect Muslim insurgents abroad from American soldiers preparing for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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