FORT HOOD, Texas—At the court martial for former Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, the prosecution and defense agreed on at least one thing: Hasan is the man who opened fire at Fort Hood, killing 13 fellow soldiers and wounding dozens more. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. He could get the death penalty.
In opening statements Tuesday the Army prosecutor said the attack was carefully planned by Hasan just before he was to be deployed to Afghanistan. He said Hasan bought a gun, practiced at a shooting range and stockpiled ammo to kill as many soldiers as he could.
Army Colonel Steve Henricks told the court Hasan “did not want to deploy and came to believe he had a jihad duty to kill fellow soldiers.”
Hasan—who is acting as his own attorney—was calm during his statement. He said “the evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter.”
But he said he was among “imperfect Muslims trying to establish the perfect religion.” He added, “I apologize for any mistakes I made in this endeavor.”
Leila Hunt Willingham’s younger brother Jason was killed in the attack.
“Worst day of my life, ever, I’ll never forget it. Clear as a bell forever, unfortunately,” she said.
She hopes the court martial will provide answers.
“I don’t believe in the word closure, because it never really goes away, but I just want the peace of knowing what his last moments were like,” she said.
Still, she’s not sure how much it will help.
“At the end of the day, my brother is still gone. I just want to know if he was scared and I don’t know why I need to know that. It just breaks my heart, it bothers me so much to think that he was,” she said.
“It’s just hard to think about,” she said.
On Tuesday the prosecutor said Jason Hunt was one of three soldiers who stood up to protect a group of nurses during the attack. Hasan, who is representing himself, could cross examine some of the people he’s accused of shooting.