Jury given time amid rapid pace of Fort Hood trial

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Testimony has been moving so quickly during the military trial of the soldier accused in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that the judge decided to give jurors extra time on Monday in between witnesses to finish their notes.

Maj. Nidal Hasan is acting as his own attorney during the trial at the Texas military base, where he is accused of killing 13 people and injuring more than 30 others in November 2009. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

But so far, Hasan has said little in his defense. The Army psychiatrist mostly watched in silence as more than 40 witnesses testified during the trial’s opening days last week, and he questioned none of the witnesses who testified Monday morning.

Many of them have been soldiers wounded in the attack who identified Hasan as the shooter. But Hasan has questioned none of them and many finished testifying in 20 minutes or less.

The rapid pace of the trial, which originally was expected to take months, prompted the judge to allow a few minutes after each witness for jurors to collect their thoughts and finish their notes before someone else stepped into the witness stand.

“Just look up when you’re ready. Take as much time as you need,” the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, told jurors.

Hasan has questioned just two witnesses so far — his former supervisor and a member of the local mosque he last attended the morning of the shooting. He has raised about the same number of brief objections as witnesses described a chaotic, bloody scene the day of the shooting.

Spc. Jonathan Sims testified Monday about pressing down on the neck of a fellow soldier to stop the bleeding. Sims said he, too, was shot while trying to protect the two of them. He echoed the testimony of earlier witnesses when describing hearing a wounded soldier crying out, “My baby! My baby!” One of the soldiers who was killed, Pvt. Franceska Velez, was pregnant when she died.

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