The court-martial of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of carrying out the 2009 mass shootings at Fort Hood, Tex., was suspended Wednesday after a lawyer accused the defendant of deliberately trying to secure a death sentence.
Hasan, who faces 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder, is representing himself at the trial on the same Army post in central Texas where the killings took place.
Hasan twice dismissed his legal team, but he has three standby lawyers on hand to offer him legal advice if he requests it. And Wednesday morning, one of them, Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, offered to step in to represent Hasan.
Poppe told the military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, that it is “clear [Hasan’s] goal is to remove impediments or obstacles to the death penalty and is working toward a death penalty.”
Poppe asked that his own responsibilities be minimized if Hasan insisted on continuing to seek his execution, saying the defendant was acting in a way that “we believe is repugnant to defense counsel and contrary to our professional obligations,” according to wire reports.