FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The Army psychiatrist charged in the mass shooting at Fort Hood asked pointed questions about religion and used several opportunities Wednesday to declare his support for the Taliban and a fellow American-born Muslim who killed a U.S. soldier, as he was allowed to zero in on potential jurors during the second day of jury selection.
Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is serving as his own attorney in his military murder trial, participated as nine of the remaining 14 Army officers in the group were questioned individually. Four more potential jurors were dismissed, leaving 10 — but some of those could be dismissed later. A new group of six will be questioned when jury selection continues Monday.
On Tuesday, six from the first group of 20 potential jurors were dismissed after all were questioned by the judge and prosecutors, but not by Hasan.
Hasan, 42, faces execution or life without parole if convicted in the rampage that left 13 dead and nearly three dozen wounded on the Texas Army post on Nov. 5, 2009.
Hasan told one colonel that Abdulhakim Muhammad, sentenced to life in prison for the June 2009 fatal shooting of a soldier outside a Little Rock, Ark., military recruiting station, was his "brother and friend." Muhammad, who converted to Islam in college, has told The Associated Press that the shootings were an act of war on the U.S.
In answering Hasan's questions based on jury questionnaires they filled out about a year ago, several potential jurors said they had negative views of Muslims, the Quran or Shariah, the Islamic legal and religious code. But they said they could put aside those views and only consider evidence in the case — including a colonel asked by Hasan if "the fact that I do believe the Quran justifies killing" would prevent him from being a fair juror.