What looked like another increasingly routine hearing of Maj. Nidal Hasan – the accused gunman behind the 2009 shooting spree at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas – now appears to be less so, as Hasan’s lawyers claim he offered to enter a guilty plea.
Hasan’s trial has been slow to start, as legal wrangling over whether or not the Army can shave Hasan’s beard has taken center stage. Hasan claims the beard is an expression of her Muslim faith, but Army codes dictate a soldier must be clean-shaven at his court martial. Today, Judge Col. Gregory Gross ordered that Hasan’s beard by shaved, reports The New York Times.
Overshadowed by the beard aspect was an announcement from Hasan’s attorneys that he had offered to enter a guilty plea, but as the Associated Press reports, he’s prevented from doing so in the Fort Hood case:
Attorneys for the Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood massacre say he offered twice to plead guilty and "accept responsibility" earlier this year.
Maj. Nidal Hasan's attorneys say he even tried to challenge Army rules preventing him from pleading guilty to murder in a death penalty case. The revelations came before a judge ruled Hasan must be clean-shaven or have his beard forcibly shaved before trial.
Hasan faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5, 2009 incident.