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THE NATION : Hasan may never walk again : The Ft. Hood shooting suspect's attorney says he's paralyzed from the waist down and in significant pain.

November 14, 2009|Nicholas Riccardi

FT. HOOD, TEXAS — The Army psychiatrist accused of killing 12 soldiers and one civilian at this sprawling military base last week was left paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by two police officers, his attorney said Friday.

John P. Galligan said that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan feels no sensation in his legs and that doctors at a San Antonio military hospital -- where Hasan is in intensive care and under guard -- have said he may not walk again.

"He's pretty much paralyzed," Galligan said, adding that Hasan does have some feeling in his hands and is in significant pain.

A retired Army colonel specializing in military criminal defense, Galligan said he met with Hasan Thursday after military officials filed 13 charges of premeditated murder. If convicted, Hasan could face the death penalty.

Hasan, 39, is accused of opening fire on dozens of unarmed soldiers inside Ft. Hood's Soldier Readiness Center. They were filling out paperwork for pending deployments.

A devout Muslim, Hasan too was due to deploy to Afghanistan to counsel troops there. According to witnesses, Hasan walked into the center, uttered an apparent prayer and cried "Allahu akbar" -- Arabic for "God is great" -- before discharging more than 100 rounds.

Dozens of people were wounded in the attack.

Before the shooting, the FBI and two high-profile anti-terrorism task forces had investigated e-mails that Hasan sent over the last year to Anwar al Awlaki, a radical imam in Yemen and a U.S. citizen who has ties to militants.

However, authorities said, the task forces concluded that the communications posed no threat and had been undertaken as part of Hasan's research on Muslims, the military and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hasan was promoted to major and sent to Ft. Hood this summer for deployment. The Defense Department did not learn about Hasan's contacts with Awlaki until after the shootings, said a senior official who requested anonymity when discussing the ongoing investigation.

President Obama has ordered a review of all intelligence decisions related to Hasan. The first round of the review is due to end Nov. 30. The Senate next week will hold hearings about the case.

Galligan, who along with a military attorney will defend Hasan, said Friday that his client was still dazed, probably due to medication.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Galligan also expressed anger that reporters had been allowed into Hasan's apartment Wednesday after military and FBI investigators released control of it.

Although Hasan had given away most of his belongings in the days before the attack, some items remained, the paper said, including a business card listing Hasan's credentials as a psychiatrist that had the letters "SoA" under his name. According to experts, "SoA" stands for "Servant of Allah" or "Soldier of Allah." The latter phrase has been associated with Muslim extremist groups.

"I know some people are saying [it means] soldier of Allah," Galligan said. "Is that any more troubling than saying I'm a servant of Christ?"

--

nicholas.riccardi@latimes.com

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