Nov. 21, 2009— -- Major Nidal Hasan, charged with killing 13 in the Fort Hood shooting spree, is paralyzed from the chest down and is not a flight risk, said his defense attorney after a hearing before a military magistrate in Hasan's hospital room Saturday.
The accused Fort Hood shooter had his first court hearing in the intensive care unit of a San Antonio hospital at 1 p.m. His status has now been changed from pre-trial restriction to pre-trial confinement, meaning that he will be confined until his court martial.
The military magistrate ruled that Hasan will stay at Brooke Army Medical Center for now, but the military has the option of moving him to another medical facility or to jail.
According to defense attorney John Galligan, Hasan is paralyzed from the chest down, is incontinent and "in severe pain."
"He is an individual in need of constant medical attention," Galligan said. "He has no sensation from his chest down."
Previously, Galligan had said Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down.
Galligan questioned the speed with which the legal process is moving.
"In the 36 years I've dealt with military justice cases," Galligan said, "this is the first time I have ever had to go to an ICU to conduct a hearing.
"We could have conducted this hearing next week," he said. "He is paralyzed. He is not going on leave."
Galligan, a retired Army colonel now in private practice, said the hearing lasted a little over an hour. According to Galligan, Hasan recognized him and was able to speak, but grew fatigued.
Galligan said he does not expect the Army to move his client from Brooke AMC immediately, but he does want to know when Hasan might be moved and where he might be moved. Hasan's change in status to "confinee" also limits the number of people who can visit him.
"He is still a patient, but he is also a pretrial confinee," Galligan said. "There was not a compelling government interest to change his status at this time.
"Given that condition, why is he anything but a patient?"
Hasan was transferred to Brooke AMC on Nov. 6, a day after the shooting. He was taken off a ventilator Nov. 7. The following day, when investigators tried to interview him, he refused to answer questions and requested a lawyer.
Galligan, whose private practice is in nearby Belton, Texas, met with Hasan for the first time on Nov. 9. He has asked that his security clearance be reinstated so that he can review all the evidence against Hasan.
Hasan faces 13 counts of premeditated murder for the Nov. 5 shooting spree at Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Processing Center. He will be tried in a military court, and additional charges may be pending. Military prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.