FORT HOOD, Texas - The Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shooting rampage unexpectedly severed ties with his lead attorney yesterday, eight months before the military trial at which he faces the death penalty.
Major Nidal Hasan confirmed during his arraignment that he dropped his civilian attorney, a retired Army colonel who had represented him since the 2009 attack on the Texas Army post.
Hasan, who is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, said he wanted to be represented by three military attorneys. Two were already on his defense team.
Hasan did not enter a plea during the 15-minute arraignment, and it is unclear when he will. According to military law, he cannot plead guilty because it is a death penalty case.
Colonel Gregory Gross, Fort Hood’s chief circuit judge, set the military trial date for March, which the defense team had requested. Jurors will be brought in from Fort Sill, Okla., according to documents filed in the case.
Hasan, 40, was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police trying to stop the rampage. He remains in the Bell County Jail, which houses defendants for nearby Fort Hood.