FT. HOOD, Texas — One of the soldiers who died in a mass shooting at this central Texas Army base was shot a dozen times -- evidence not just of the horror of the day, but of heroism.
The wounds indicate the victim was charging the gunman when shot.
“This wasn’t a situation where the deceased was not moving in relation to the shooter. It wasn’t a static relationship, where one was standing there not moving,” said Army Lt. Col. Philip Berran, a military forensic pathologist who autopsied the soldier.
Berran was one of several military pathologists expected to offer graphic testimony about the shooting victims Thursday, the eighth day of the court-martial for admitted Ft. Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.
Hasan, 42, an Army psychiatrist, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in connection with the shooting. The American-born Muslim has admitted to the shooting, and attempted to argue he attacked deploying soldiers to protect Taliban leaders overseas.
If convicted by the jury of 13 fellow officers, Hasan could face a death sentence.
In earlier testimony, some survivors struggled to keep their composure as they recalled the sights and sounds of that day, quoting victims calling for help, describing how they checked to see if others were still alive. The testimony from the pathologists has been far different -- clinical, scientific, but still powerful.
In his testimony Thursday morning, Berran detailed the wounds of two victims of the shooting: Pfc. Aaron Nemelka, 19, of West Jordan, Utah, and Frederick Greene, 29, of Mountain City, Tenn.
A military prosecutor handed Berran photos of the soldiers’ bodies as well as bullet fragments he recovered during autopsy at Dover Air Force Base, where Berran is based. Nemelka was shot three times, including wounds to the abdomen and chest consistent with the soldier being on the ground when shot, Berran said.
For Greene, Berran said two of the gunshot wounds were grazing. Many more were through and through, meaning each entry had a corresponding exit wound.
There were gunshot wounds to Greene’s face, neck, chest, shoulder, arm, thigh, back and buttocks, Berran said.
The pathologist identified bullet fragments he recovered from Greene’s body, a copper casing and a bullet he found in Greene’s body bag. He recovered a bullet from Greene’s transverse colon, the bullet jacket from his chest, bullet fragments above his sternum and his right lung.
Berran said he avoided dissecting Greene’s body because it would have made embalming difficult. Instead, for half of the wounds, Berran inserted metal rods to match entrance and exit wounds and avoid over-counting. He also said he matched the wounds to holes in Greene’s uniform.
Based on the wound trajectories, Berran said it appeared both Greene and the shooter were moving when he was shot.
“It was more of an active incident between the two,” Berran said.
“Would it be consistent with Pfc. Greene charging the shooter?” the prosecutor asked.
“It would be consistent, yes,” Berran said.
Other witnesses have said they saw people shot while charging the shooter.
The jury has already heard from more than 70 witnesses, including other pathologists testifying about more than a half-dozen autopsies. The military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, has said the trial could take at least a month, but Hasan, who is representing himself, has declined to cross-examine most witnesses, speeding the proceedings.
Osborn plans to recess early Friday, and prosecutors are not expected to finish presenting their case until next week at the earliest.
Hasan has said he plans to call only two witnesses, and it was not clear Thursday whether he plans to testify.