Trial of accused Ft. Hood shooter stayed
FT. HOOD, Texas -- A military appeals court on Wednesday stayed the trial of accused Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan after his attorneys challenged a judge’s order to forcibly shave the defendant before trial.
Hasan, who appeared in court at the Texas military base with a full beard, was found in contempt by the judge and fined $1,000 for violating Army grooming rules. He had already been fined $4,000 for refusing to shave. His attorneys have said that Hasan, who is Muslim, was exercising his religious freedom in wearing a beard.
The trial appeared to be stayed until the issue of his beard is resolved. It had been scheduled to start Monday.
Earlier Wednesday, the judge addressed a motion by Hasan’s lawyers that indicated he wished to plead guilty for religious reasons “to take responsibility for his actions.”
The military judge, Col. Gregory Gross, said he was not allowed to accept a guilty plea in the capital case, but that Hasan’s lawyers could still enter it. The stay was issued before the lawyers entered a plea Wednesday.
Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 attack on the Army base.
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