The Fort Hood shooter, U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, sought a change of venue to move his murder trial out of Fort Hood, Texas.
Hasan is accused of killing 13 people during a mass shooting in 2009.
Along with requesting a change of venue, Hasan is also asking that the military judge change the makeup of officers on the jury and that the judge reconsider the procedure for sentencing should he be convicted, reports Reuters. He could face the death penalty.
In one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, Hasan is accused of injuring 32 people during his rampage at the military base. The Army Major's murder trial has already been delayed several times including a successful attempt to remove the previous military judge overseeing the case, reports Reuters.
In this most recent proceeding, Hasan is seeking to change the location of the trial to another court where the case could have been properly brought. Frequently, individuals seek a change of venue for reasons such as convenience, to avoid prejudice, and to find an unbiased jury pool.
In the case of a military trial, a murder hearing could presumably be held at any U.S. Army installation. However, the issue is whether Hasan would face a less biased jury pool or find U.S. military officers anywhere in the world who have not heard of the case nor have an opinion on the matter.
Arguments that could support the move can include that while most Army officers have heard of the mass shooting, the emotions and sentiment in Fort Hood are just too strong for Hasan to have a fair hearing.
Hasan's legal team did not give further details as to the reasons that he is seeking the change of venue or what their ideal officer jury pool consists of. His team has previously indicated that the Major is willing to plead guilty, but as prosecutors refuse to take the death penalty off the table, there may be little incentive for Hasan to enter a plea deal now.
- Nidal Hasan, Fort Hood Shooting Suspect, Wants Murder Trial Moved Off Texas Army Post (Huffington Post)
- Death Penalty (FindLaw)
- Ft. Hood Shooting Suspect to Face Death Penalty (FindLaw's Blotter)