Hasan breaks silence to clarify testimony, court record
Stars and Stripes
FORT HOOD, Texas – After nearly every one of the prosecution’s witnesses – more than 80 so far – Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan has declined cross-examination.
Monday, he broke his silent streak, asking a soldier to clarify his testimony about the shootout between Hasan and police Sgt. Kimberly Munley.
Staff Sgt. Juan Alvarado, who worked near the clinic where the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shooting began, said he saw Munley firing at Hasan from a prone position, then get up and try to shoot again before pointing her weapon down.
“It seemed like her weapon jammed,” Alvarado said. Hasan then lifted his weapon again and shot her, Alvarado said, causing her to fall.
Munley was hit three times in the shooting spree that killed 13 and wounded 32 people in a matter of minutes. Hasan could be put to death if convicted.
When Alvarado finished answering the prosecution’s questions, Hasan jumped in, asking Alvarado if he had looked away at “any point when I and Officer Munley were shooting at each other?”
Alvarado said no, and Hasan asked if Alvarado saw him fire at Munley after it was clear she was disarmed. Alvarado said yes.
The testimony varied slightly from what Munley told the court Friday. She said Hasan shot at her, hitting her three times, and she went down. Then, she said, she realized her weapon was jammed and Hasan kicked it away, then stood over her trying – but failing – to shoot again before stumbling away.
Hasan also spoke up earlier in the day to alert the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, that one of the prosecutors inadvertently turned on a green laser sight that is part of the body of evidence, and that the laser had briefly shone next to Osborn.
He also wanted to make clear for the record that he had requested a change to the definition of jihad that the prosecution and defense agreed to as fact.
It wasn’t clear what the original definition had been, but the agreed-upon definition stated that jihad can be fulfilled by “the heart, the tongue, the hand or the sword.”
Jihad of the sword “calls for waging war against the enemies of Islam,” according to the definition read into the court record by Col. Steve Henricks, a member of the prosecution team.
Also Monday, an FBI computer forensic examiner testified that Hasan had done Internet searches in January 2009 for “killing innocent Quran” and “killing of women and children Quran.”
Hasan did 10 searches for the term “Taliban” between Nov. 1 and Nov. 5, 2009, and also searched for terms like “jihad Muslims” and “Afghanistan Taliban” during that time, said Special Agent Charles Cox III.
Among the 86 pages marked as “favorites” on Hasan’s computer was a New York Times article with the headline, “A Call to Jihad, Answered in America,” Cox said.
The last time anyone logged on to Hasan’s computer was at 11:20 a.m. central time, Cox said, and the computer was shut down five seconds before 11:30 a.m.
The shooting began around 1:30 p.m. that day.
The last file accessed on Hasan’s computer was a Yahoo News article with the headline, “Pakistan Taliban chief urges troops to fight army,” Cox said.
The gist of the article was that Taliban leaders were telling fighters “to stand strong … to not be a coward, to face the enemy and not retreat,” Cox said.