No defense from suspect in 2009 Fort Hood shooting

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The soldier on trial for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood rested his case Wednesday without calling witnesses, choosing not to challenge the government’s case against him in the deadliest mass shooting on a U.S. military base in history.

Nidal Hasan is representing himself but told the judge he wouldn’t be calling anyone in his defense. The trial will resume Thursday, with prosecutors’ closing arguments expected.

Hasan is accused of killing 13 people, most of them fellow soldiers, and wounding more than 30 at the Texas military base. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Hasan has sat mostly silent during the trial, but he has told jurors he was the gunman. The lawyers appointed to help him say he’s trying to get a conviction and death sentence in an attempt at martyrdom.

The U.S.-born Muslim has suggested that he wanted to argue the killings were in defense of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. A judge rejected that strategy.

Outside his trial, Hasan has been telling reporters his side of the attack, seemingly to justify it as a defense of his faith.

Prosecution witnesses have described how a lone gunman wearing Army fatigues shouted “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — before drawing a pistol and opening fire inside a medical building at the Army post on Nov. 5, 2009. The building was crowded with unarmed soldiers, many preparing for deployments to Afghanistan.

Hasan was about to be deployed there as well.

Military prosecutors rested their case Tuesday against Hasan, who faces numerous counts of premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder.

Prosecutors are moving carefully. Any death sentence automatically goes to military appeals courts, which have overturned most such sentences they have reviewed.

One leaked report to the media showed that Hasan told mental health experts after the attack that he believed he could be a martyr if convicted and executed by the government.

He was left paralyzed and wheelchair-bound after being shot by officers responding to the rampage.

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