* Officials have linked suspect to radical Muslim cleric
* Accused shooter could face death penalty in 2009 rampage
* Case raises concerns over "home grown" attacks
(Adds comment from Hasan's attorney)
By Chris Baltimore
HOUSTON, July 6 A U.S. Army psychiatrist
charged in a 2009 killing rampage at a Texas military base will
face a court-martial where he could be sentenced to death, a
military official ruled on Wednesday.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 40, who U.S. officials have linked
to a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen, is charged in the Fort
Hood shootings killed 13 people and wounded 32 others.
Lieutenant General Donald Campbell, Fort Hood's commander,
referred Hasan's case to a general court martial which "is
authorized to consider death as an authorized punishment,"
according to a statement issued by Fort Hood.
A date has not been set for the court martial, the
statement said. The first likely step would be for a military
judge to inform Hasan of his rights at an arraignment, it
John Galligan, Hasan's lead attorney, declined to comment
on whether Hasan will pursue an insanity plea for his defense.
"This thing has been choreographed a long time ago,"
Galligan said. "We're just seeing the various events play
According to witnesses who testified at evidentiary
hearings at Fort Hood in 2010, Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" --
Arabic for "God is Greatest" -- just before opening fire on a
group of soldiers undergoing health checks before being
deployed to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hasan is confined to a wheelchair after he was paralyzed
from the chest down by bullet wounds inflicted by civilian
police officers during the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting.
The incident has raised concerns over the threat of
"home-grown" militant attacks. U.S. officials said Hasan had
exchanged e-mails with Anwar al-Awlaki, an anti-American al
Qaeda figure based in Yemen.
Fort Hood is a major deployment point for the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
(Additional reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio, Editing
by Sandra Maler and David Storey)