The Army major charged with a 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas will defend himself at his trial, to begin on Tuesday.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan could face the death penalty if he is convicted of the 13 charges of murder and 32 charges of premeditated murder at his Fort Hood trial. He reportedly killed 13 and wounded 30 of his fellow soldiers waiting for medical attention on the large base on Nov. 5, 2009. The court granted him permission in June to forgo legal counsel and act in his own defense.
Experts have said this trial is unusually complicated for the military justice system, which is unaccustomed to death penalty cases and has had problems in the past avoiding overturned sentences.
Hasan will not be allowed to argue that he was acting in defense of his fellow Muslims, following a pre-trial ruling from the judge, Col. Tara Osborn. He also may not testify himself as he questions the witnesses.
The trial was supposed to begin last year, but ran aground over a fight from Hasan and his attorneys at the time over his right to grow a beard, contrary to military regulations. The judge at the time was replaced over the dispute.
Many of the victims are expected to testify at the trial. Army Spc. Alan Carroll recalls playing dead to avoid being shot again by Hasan.
Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who is blind in his left eye as a result of the shooting, says Hasan deserves a harsh sentence.
"No matter what type of smirk or ... smart comment that he comes out with, I stay on point, on topic, straight to the point," he told CBS News.
"It's going to be very difficult," Lunsford added. "Inside me, I want him to physically feel what it feels like to have his life in my hands."
He described Hasan's face on the day of the shooting as "a cold malice person," and says he locked eyes with the shooter to show that he did not fear him.
Hasan was himself shot by police at the scene, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. He must use a catheter and wear adult diapers. Hasan also announced earlier in August he would renounce his U.S. citizenship, reports NBC News.
The jury consists of 13 officers, including nine colonels, three lieutenant colonels and one major, reports the BBC. Prosecutors are expected to discuss Hasan's radicalization following his deployment to Afghanistan, including searching the Internet for the terms "jihad" and "Taliban" moments before the shooting.
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