Maj. Nidal Hasan (Jail photo)
KILLEEN (August 9, 2012)—Killeen police are distributing flyers that detail the signs of possible terrorist activity ahead of the start of the court-martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who’s charged in the deadly November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Center.
The court-martial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 20 at Fort Hood, although a ruling is pending on whether to delay the start of the trial until October.
“Terrorism may be national or international in scope,” the flyers say, “but terrorist incidents occur locally and are preceded by a number of pre-incident activities.”
“By learning what to look for, you can aid law enforcement officials in protecting the homeland,” the flyers say.
“The partnership between the community and law enforcement is essential to the success of anti-terrorism efforts.”
The flyers recommend steps businesses and individuals can take and lists suspicious factors that could be signs of impending terrorist activity.
"We just want to make sure people know what to look out for and when they should call us," police spokeswoman Carroll Smith said.
Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 massacre at the post’s Soldier Readiness Center and if convicted faces either the death penalty or life without parole.
A daylong pretrial hearing was held on post Thursday.
Hasan again watched the proceedings from a trailer equipped with closed circuit TV in which he’s sequestered because of his refusal to shave his beard.
Military Judge Col. Gregory Gross held Hasan in contempt again Thursday and fined him $1,000 because of the beard.
Gross has said last that if Hasan doesn’t shave voluntarily, he will be shaved forcibly before the start of his court-martial.
The beard violates Army regulations, but Hasan's attorneys say he's expressing his Muslim faith.
Gross denied a motion Thursday seeking to move the trial from Fort Hood and heard arguments for delaying the start of the court-martial until October.
During arguments on the change of venue issue Hasan's lawyers said the barricade wall that's been created with almost 180 storage boxes around the building that houses the courtroom has created a combat zone compound feeling similar to a base in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Gross said the barricade is there to keep Hasan and others safe during the trial.
Hasan's lawyers also brought up the flyers that were distributed to employees of Killeen restaurants by the Killeen Police Department.
Lead defense attorney Lt. Col. Kris Poppe said if a potential panel member was exposed to a such a flyer, it could be detrimental to Hasan’s right to a fair trial.
Gross was not persuaded by any of the arguments in support of the change of venue and denied the motion.
Attorneys spent much of the day, however, questioning expert witnesses on terrorism, who testified over the phone.
The prosecution wants to present testimony curing Hasan’s court-martial from terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann who said he’s testified in more than 20 trials as an expert on terrorism, but the defense objects.
Kohlman said Thursday his research and analysis has allowed him to develop six qualities that are commonly associated with homegrown terrorism.
Kohlmann admitted he hasn't formally published the factors in a list format, but said the factors were the focus of many pf the expert reports he's issued during trials, including the one he submitted in Hasan’s case.
The defense called James Richardson a sociology professor and expert in the field to challenge Kohlmann's testimony.
Richardson said he was concerned Kohlmann hadn't developed a published step-by-step test on homegrown terrorism and pointed out that some of the six factors are different across different trials.
He tried to illustrate Kohlmann's research and expertise as malleable.
Another hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday. Judge Gross could rule on a motion to reconsider delaying the trial until October.
He heard arguments on Thursday but reserved his ruling.
On Thursday the defense hauled in several boxes of documents containing thousands of pages of a log the Bell County Jail has been keeping of Hasan's activities since he's been in custody.
Hasan's lawyers stated they need more time to analyze this log and other evidence in preparation of the trial.