Major Nidal Hasan, the suspect who is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32 soldiers at Fort Hood Army post in Texas on November 5, 2009 will not be allowed to plead guilty to any of the charges against him, a judge ruled on Wednesday.
Back in August Hasan wouldn't shave his beard for trial after being told numerous times to do so. Finally a panel of U.S. Army judges handed down a ruling demanding that he must shave his beard before appearing for his court-martial.
USA today reports,
Maj. Nidal Hasan's attorneys previously said he was ready to plead guilty to the 13 counts of premeditated murder he faces in the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation, but Army rules prohibit a judge from accepting a guilty plea to charges that carry the death penalty.
Defense attorneys then asked that Hasan be allowed to plead guilty to 13 counts of unpremeditated murder, which does not carry the death penalty.
No guilty pleas would have stopped his murder trial or possibility of being sentenced to death.
Judge Col. Tara Osborn ruled that Hasan cannot enter a guilty plea to lesser charges of the 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. He would still have to be tried on the premeditated murder charges.
She also said he would not be allowed to plead guilty to unpremeditated murder and unpremeditated attempted murder, because that "would be the functional equivalent of pleading guilty to a capital offense." A capital offense is a charge that carries the death penalty.
Hasan's military court martial is scheduled to begin on May 29 and he faces execution or life without parole. If found guilty, I favor execution. Testimony is to begin July 1 and is expected to take up to three months. The government expects to call approximately 300 witnesses.
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