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Military judge refuses to accept guilty plea from Fort Hood shooting suspect

Posted Mar 21, 2013 7:04 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan won’t be able to avoid trial in the fatal shooting of 13 people.

Hasan sought to plead guilty to 13 counts of premeditated murder, but a judge said on Wednesday that military law bars her from accepting the plea, report the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, said she could not accept a guilty plea when the possible sentence is death. She also refused to accept a plea to 13 counts of unpremeditated murder or 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder because Hasan would still be tried on the premeditated charges, and the plea could be used against him.

Some military law experts believed Hasan’s lawyers had hoped a guilty plea to lesser charges would suggest to jurors that their client was remorseful, the AP story says. Hasan could not be sentenced to death if at least one juror disagrees with the punishment.

Trial testimony is expected to begin on July 1.

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