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Continued: Prosecutors: Fort Hood gunman spared civilians, planned carefully for attack on fellow troops

  • Article by: NOMAAN MERCHANT , Associated Press
  • Last update: August 6, 2013 - 6:05 PM

Mumbling and stumbling over his questions — at one point mispronouncing his own name — Hasan asked retired Lt. Col. Ben Phillips a series of questions about "medical personnel initiating mercy killings." He also appeared to ask about a water supply in Iraq being contaminated with gas.

One soldier who was repeatedly shot testified that he played dead before realizing the gunman might notice he was sweating.

Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford was hit seven times — twice inside the building when he played dead, then five more times outside. He said he decided to flee because "dead men don't sweat."

Soldiers were trying to push their way out of a double-door exit, he said. But one door was locked, so it created a bottleneck.

Hasan wanted to plead guilty to murder and attempted murder, but military rules forbid guilty pleas in death-penalty cases.

In writings and in previous court statements, he sought to argue that he carried out the shooting to defend the Taliban from American attacks. But the judge denied that request.

The trial is playing out amid high security at Fort Hood, where armed guards stood in doorways and 15-foot stacks of shock-absorbing barriers obscured the view of the courthouse. Jurors were told the trial could take months. Hasan needs regular breaks because of his paralysis.

Numerous requests have delayed the trial for years, including arguments over Hasan's beard, which he insisted on growing despite the fact that it violates military regulations.

Hasan dismissed his attorneys earlier this year. Over the next several weeks, he could question many more witnesses who were among the wounded, plus dozens of others who were inside the post's Soldier Readiness Processing Center at the time of the attack.

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