FORT HOOD, Texas — Legal advisers for convicted shooter Nidal Malik Hasan attempted to submit sympathetic evidence over his objections at the sentencing phase Tuesday, telling the judge that if Hasan refuses to fight a death sentence, someone should.
They argued that the Army major should not be allowed to prevent the military jury from seeing the evidence, which might lead to a sentence of life in prison.
"If no one is making a case for life, there is only death," said the lead adviser, Lt. Col Kris Poppe.
Hasan, 42, was convicted last week of premeditated murder in connection with the shooting that killed 13 and wounded more than 30 at this central Texas Army post on Nov. 5, 2009. The Army psychiatrist has been representing himself in the court-martial, and criticized his advisers Tuesday as "overzealous."
Poppe wanted to submit evidence gathered by experts, including a lawyer the government hired who specializes in helping clients fight death sentences. The military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, refused his request, ruling that Hasan has an absolute right to control his case and suppress sympathetic evidence — that he lacked a prior criminal record, for instance, and suffers from various medical conditions (wounded in the shooting, he's paraplegic).
The judge told the jurors to prepare for their deliberations today.
Poppe complained at trial that Hasan was seeking the death penalty. Hasan, an American-born Muslim, denied the allegation, but three years ago he told a military mental health panel that being put to death would still make him a martyr.
He and prosecutors argued at trial that his religious beliefs led him to attack fellow soldiers.