Army Major Hasan Faces New Charges in Fort Hood Shootings

Psychiatrist charged with 32 counts of attempted murder, may plead insanity.

ByMEGAN CHUCHMACH Brian Ross Investigative Unit
December 2, 2009, 10:40 AM

Dec. 2, 2009 — -- The Army psychiatrist at the center of last month's deadly shooting at the Fort Hood, Texas army base was charged with 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder today, on top of the 13 murder counts he already faced in the Nov. 5 massacre.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who remains hospitalized and paralyzed from the chest down in a San Antonio intensive care unit, is accused of shooting 30 soldiers and two civilians – Fort Hood police officers – in addition to fatally wounding 13 soldiers.


Officials said the investigation into the shootings continues and additional charges may be pending. Hasan is set to be tried in military court.

Hasan's attorney John Galligan said he was "completely surprised" by the new charges.

"I had no preliminary notice that the charges would be served," Galligan told ABC News. He said he hadn't seen the charge sheet and continues to "learn more about aspects of this case through the national press than I do from the prosecutor's directly."


Galligan believes a military commander is presently en route to notify Hasan of the new charges, and said he is concerned that "at this point, it's almost impossible for us to expect a presumption of innocence and right to due process out of the Fort Hood legal community and commanders."

ABC News reported earlier today that the Army wants a formal inquiry into the sanity of the accused shooter, and the request could be approved as early as Wednesday afternoon.

Attorney Considering Insanity Defense for Maj. Hasan

Galligan, who earlier told Good Morning America that he is considering an insanity defense for his client, said he received notice via e-mail at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday that the Army would ask to convene a "sanity board" to evaluate Hasan's mental state.

According to Galligan, the e-mail said, "Given the magnitude and seriousness of the crimes alleged in the specifications, such alleged conduct makes me believe the accused lacks mental responsibility and capacity."

The e-mail was signed by Captain James Huber, Hasan's unit commander.

Galligan thought there would be a determination this afternoon about approving the convening of the sanity board, but as of 2:30 CST, it hadn't happened.

The procedure would assemble a panel of individuals, presumably military officers, who would establish whether Hasan is competent to stand trial in a military court and whether he was mentally responsible at the time of the shooting. It can be requested by a number of different parties, including the defense, the prosecution, the judge and the defendant's commanding officer.

In addition to the criminal investigation, leaders of a Pentagon-appointed task force charged with reviewing what factors led to the attacks arrived at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas Nov. 24 to begin a separate 45-day investigation. They are tasked with examining policies and procedures relating to first response, protection, mass casualties and preventing future attacks from service members.

Click Here for the Blotter Homepage.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events