Two and a half years ago, Nidal Hasan murdered thirteen people in cold blood at Fort Hood Texas. He shot 29 others, who fortunately didn’t die. Hasan himself was shot and captured on the spot.
Yesterday, Hasan showed up in court for a scheduled pre-trial hearing. What was on the docket? A bunch of pre-trial motions designed to delay Hasan's day of judgment.
What happened? MSNBC tells us in 379 words:
The judge in the trial of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan delayed pre-trial motions Friday when he ruled the defendant to be in violation of the Army's grooming standards.
Hasan showed up for the half-day administrative hearing sporting a beard, which the military prosecutors said was a violation of Army regulation 670-1 and court-martial rule 804(4)(1). Judge Col. Gregory Gross then went on record saying that Hasan's beard was a disruption to the proceedings.
"It is a disruption. The judge felt it was," Fort Hood media officer Chris Haug told msnbc.com. "He's in violation of the Army's dress and grooming standrds,” Army regulation 670-1 dictates the appearance of Army uniforms, while court-martial rule 804(4)(1) states the accused shall be attired in dress or uniform as prescribed by a military judge.
"He's an active-duty soldier and should be in full uniform and clean shaven. That's what all active-duty soldiers are supposed to do," Haug said. It was the first time Hasan has shown up in court with a beard. According to Army rules, all males must be clean shaven when in uniform or civilian clothes while on duty.
The defense indicated it would file a request for exception to the policy for religious accommodation for Hasan, an American-born Muslim, to the Department of the Army. There was no indication how long it would take for a decision to be made on such a request.
The pre-trial motions will resume when Hasan adheres to the Army regulation or when a closed-circuit feed can be set up for him to observe the trial from a different location, the military said. A location has not been determined should the closed-circuit option be needed. The motions scheduled for Friday included a request for further continuance, resolution of discovery matters and whether the accused should receive the services of an expert neurologist at government expense. It was unclear when the motions would be addressed.
Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. If convicted, he could face life without parole or the death penalty. Eight soldiers and five civilians were killed in the Nov. 5, 2009, attack on the Army base in Texas. Hasan was wounded and paralyzed from the chest down before being captured.
Now the defense has another reason for delay. They will make a motion to let Hasan wear a beard to court. That should take a couple of months to be heard and decided. If they lose that motion, the prosecution will make him watch the trial on closed circuit television, which, of course, will create another objection and appeal by the defense.
Where’s the media? Where’s the outrage? Relatives of the thirteen victims wait in excruciating silence for justice to done. For someone to care. For someone to investigate. At least to ask a few obvious questions.
I Googled New York Times and Nidal Hasan. What came up was a story on July 21, 2011 about the Senate investigation of the Fort Hood massacre. It said the army knew Hasan was an Islamic extremist, but did nothing to prevent his rampage.
Oh, yes. And another story in February of this year. A sympathetic human interest story about how Hasan’s cousin’s law practice was hurt by the bad publicity.
Maybe the Fort Hood victims should contact Trayvon Martin’s press agent.