Accused Fort Hood Gunman May Plead Guilty, Attorneys Say

Maj. Nidal Hasan (Jail photo)

FORT HOOD (March 1, 2013)—Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan may soon admit to, describe and plead guilty to the deadly November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, his attorneys said Friday.

Hasan wants to accept responsibility for the attack in which 12 soldiers and a civilian died on Nov. 5, 2009, his attorneys said.

Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

Hasan has indicated he may plead guilty to lesser charges of unpremeditated murder and if military judge Col. Tara Osborn allows the plea, she will hold an inquiry in which he must admit guilt.

Some military law experts say it's a legal strategy designed to gain sympathy from jurors in an attempt to avoid a death sentence, The Associated Press reported.

In late January Osborn ruled that Hasan will still face a possible death sentence if he’s convicted after denying a request to remove the death penalty as a punishment option.

The defense then withdrew a request that Hasan be allowed to plead guilty to 13 counts of premeditated murder in the 2009 attack on the Texas Army post, but still has a notice of intent to plead guilty pending that Osborn said she would address in a future hearing.

The issue may be moot because Army rules prohibit a judge from accepting a guilty plea in a death penalty case.

The selection of a jury panel to hear the case is now set to begin on May 29 and the court-martial will begin on July 1.