Complete and continuing coverage of the fatal shootings at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009

Hasan Lawyer Claims Appeals Will Block Execution

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Nidal Hasan's personal attorney is speaking out about the trial and confidential documents in which Hasan says he'll be a "martyr" if he's executed. (Published Thursday, Aug 15, 2013)

    The United States Army psychiatrist on trial for the Fort Hood mass shooting will never see the death chamber, his personal lawyer predicted Thursday.

    Belton attorney John Galligan is a former Army judge and prosecutor who has represented shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan on several issues since the November 2009 attack.

    Galligan said he visits Hasan regularly at the Bell County Jail.

    Hasan is confined to a wheelchair after injuries he received in the attack and he is taken to and from the county jail daily for the Fort Hood trial.

    But Galligan said the trial is just the beginning of a very long legal road ahead.

    "I personally wonder whether Major Hasan will survive the appellate process," Galligan said.

    The lawyer said many limits placed on Hasan in the case could be grounds for appeals that would block an execution despite the overwhelming severity of the crime.

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

    "He's pretty much been reduced to a prop at the trial in that courtroom," Galligan said. "Here's someone who offered to plead guilty on numerous occasions."

    People on the other side of the case are have waited years for justice to be done.

    "When we hear the actual testimony come out of how these individuals were essentially executed, it's horrible," former Army Sgt. Howard Ray said.

    Ray said Hasan fired at him but missed. All of the soldiers were unarmed and Ray has since started a fire arms training business to help other people arm and protect themselves from violence.

    "This was a by-product of the Fort Hood shooting," Ray said.

    This week, Galligan released a previously confidential Army Sanity Board document in which Hasan said he would be a "martyr" if executed for the crime.

    Galligan said Hasan wanted the document released to the media because it provides additional information he has been restricted from sharing in the trial.

    "At least by releasing this to some of the outside world, they may have a better idea of who the person sitting in the criminal dock really is," Galligan said. "He believed that his acts were designed to accomplish a greater good."

    Ray said he is disgusted with Hasan's explanation.

    "The terrorists are going to say we got a victory, one way or the other, whether this individual receives the death penalty or not," Ray said.

    The trial continues Friday morning with the prosecution case winding down.

    Hasan has already said the evidence will show he is the shooter. His defense presentation will be limited by the judge in the guilt phase of the trial but in a sentencing phase he would be permitted more latitude in his effort to explain the crime.