WASHINGTON – The Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and wounding dozens more in a November 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, has continued pulling down a paycheck since the attack.
Maj. Nidal Hasan is scheduled to go to court-martial on July 1 on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.
Hasan, who was promoted to major in May, 2009, would now be receiving $5,461.80 in monthly base pay, according to the current year military pay table. According to a report by the Dallas NBC television affiliate, the Defense Department said in a letter obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request that Hasan has been paid more than $278,000 by the Army since the shooting. Army officials at the Pentagon and at Fort Hood could not confirm the amount when contacted Tuesday.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice requires that servicemembers accused of crimes continue to receive their pay until convicted, Army officials said.
“He’s an active duty major in the United States Army and he’s being paid as such,” said Chris Haug, a Fort Hood spokesman. “He’s innocent until proven guilty.”
Even if convicted, the military court will not require him to forfeit pay received after the attack, Army officials at the Pentagon said.
Victims have testified that Hasan shouted a battle cry in Arabic before opening fire, and they have pressed the federal government to recognize the attack as an act of terrorism by an enemy of the United States.
The Army in March declined to award Purple Hearts to those injured in the attack, saying it would impede Hasan’s right to a fair trial – a decision that sparked outrage among survivors of the massacre.
Army officials pointed out that other troops accused of high-profile crimes continue to receive pay as well. They include Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, accused of carrying out a massacre of Afghan civilians in March, 2011, and Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, charged with forcible sodomy and other violations.