(Sketch by Brigitte Woosley)
FORT HOOD (July 16, 2013)—A 13-member jury panel was seated Tuesday morning for the court-martial of Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of opening fire on Nov. 5, 2009 in the post’s Soldier Readiness Center, killing 13 and injuring more than 30 others.
Three more panelists were selected Tuesday morning from the six prospective jurors whom Hasan and prosecutors spent the day questioning on Monday.
The panel consists of nine colonels, three lieutenant colonels and a major.
Two of the panelists are women and the other 11 are men.
A woman who’s a colonel is the highest-ranking officer and will act as president of the panel, Fort Hood said.
Hasan faces the death penalty if he is found guilty of premedidated murder in the shooting rampage, and prosecutors challenged three of the six prospective panelists Monday, two of whom expressed religious objections to the death penalty.
The third, who favored the death penalty, said he believes Hasan is guilty.
Tuesday morning military judge Col. Tara Osborn dismissed those three and accepted the other three.
The panel includes two officers who did express skepticism about the death penalty, although they're opposition to capital punishment was not as strong as the two who objected on religious grounds and were dismissed.
A final pre-trial hearing is scheduled Thursday afternoon.
The court-martial begins on Aug. 6.