(KILLEEN, Texas) — The army psychologist on trial for killing 13 people in a 2009 shooting rampage rested his case Wednesday in a matter of seconds, calling no witnesses and putting on no defense.
Prosecutors on Tuesday wrapped a weeks-long case against Maj. Nidal Hasan, calling many of the 30 people whom he wounded in a shooting spree at Ft. Hood in Texas.
Hasan, who is acting as his own lawyer and is on trial for his life, has never denied entering the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, a busy building where unarmed soldiers were getting ready for upcoming deployments to Afghanistan, and shouting “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” before opening fire.
When asked by judge Col. Tara Osborn how he wished to proceed, Hasan simply answered: “the defense rests.”
“You have the absolute right to remain silent,” Osborn told him. “You do not have to say anything. You have the right to testify if you choose. Understand?” Hasan confirmed that he did.
At the start of the trial, which took the government four years and millions of dollars, many believed Hasan would put on a spirited defense, cross-examining many of the witnesses he has confessed to shooting.
Since the beginning of the trial, however, Hasan has said virtually nothing. He made a brief opening statement in which he confessed to the shootings and called himself a mujahedeen, or Muslim holy warrior.
“We mujahedeen are imperfect soldiers trying to form a perfect religion. I apologize for any mistakes I made in this endeavor,” he said, adding that he “switched sides” in the war.
In the first days of the trial when it became clear Hasan did not plan to question witnesses or make objections, his standby lawyers, appointed to advise him, told the judge they believed he was cooperating with the prosecution to hasten his execution and was not therefore receiving a fair trial.
After Hasan quickly rested his case Wednesday morning, the prosecution asked for the rest of the day to prepare its closing arguments and the judge recessed the court.
The government would not allow Hasan to plead guilty because he would then be ineligible for the death penalty.
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