FORT HOOD (August 19, 2013)--Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Hasan broke his silence Monday and cross-examined a prosecution witness as the third week of his court-martial began.
Hasan asked Staff Sgt. Jan Alvarado about what he saw when he witnessed his gun battle with Fort Hood police Officer Kimberly Munley, who testified earlier that after Hasan shot her, he kicked her gun out of her hand and tried to shoot her again, but his gun malfunctioned.
Alvarado said he saw Hasan and Munley firing at each other as they came out of a grassy area between two buildings outside of the post’s Soldier Readiness Center where Hasan earlier opened fire, killing 13 and wounding more than 30.
“Are you saying after it was clear she was disarmed when she threw her weapon down that I continued to fire at her?” Hasan asked.
“Yes,” Alvarado replied.
Hasan, who’s charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5, 2009 rampage, is representing himself, but military judge Col. Tara Osborn urged him again Monday to use the attorneys whom she assigned to stand by to assist him.
She told Hasan he’d be better off with an attorney who knows the rules for military trials, when to raise objections and how to target issues for later appeals, but he insisted on continuing to represent himself.
He could be sentenced to death if convicted.
Osborn blocked prosecutors Monday for using several witnesses and much of the evidence they gathered to explain the motive for the attack.
She told prosecutors they could not make reference Sgt. Hasan Akbar, a Muslim soldier who was sentenced to death for attacking fellow soldiers in Kuwait during the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Prosecutors had wanted to suggest that the Fort Hood rampage was a copycat attack.
Osborn won’t allow the prosecution to introduce e-mails that Hasan sent in 2008 and 2009.
Prosecutors also won’t be allowed to refer to Hasan's interest years ago in conscientious objector status and his past academic presentations, but they were allowed to introduce evidence about searches on Hasan’s computer around the time of the attack.
An FBI computer forensic expert testified later in the day that the last item viewed on Hasan’s computer on the day of the shooting was an article titled, "Pakistan Taliban Chief Urges Troops to Fight Army.”
(Rachel Cox contributed to this story)