(Orange, Texas)

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August 22, 2013

Jury in Fort Hood rampage trial set to deliberate

FORT HOOD, Texas — Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is sending only a single piece of evidence to the jury room when deliberations likely start Thursday about whether he is guilty of the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood: an evaluation from his boss that called him a good soldier.

Then there's the trove military prosecutors are handing over.

Pill bottles that rattle with bullets removed from soldiers. Photos of Hasan prowling the outside of a Fort Hood medical building with a gun during the shooting. Jurors can even handle that gun, an FN 5.7 semi-automatic pistol, which Hasan volunteered belonged to him during the 12-day trial.

In all, the U.S government produced more than 700 pieces of evidence against Hasan, who hasn't put up a fight against charges that he killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others in the deadliest mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base.

Yet on the eve of the expected start of jury deliberations, Hasan perked up Wednesday when talking about what he said all that evidence doesn't show — that the attack he admits to carrying out was somehow impulsive.

"I would like to agree with the prosecution that it wasn't done under the heat of sudden passion," Hasan said. "There was adequate provocation — that these were deploying soldiers that were going to engage in an illegal war."

Hasan, an American-born Muslim, has been unapologetic about saying the rampage was necessary to protect Muslim insurgents abroad from American soldiers preparing for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His comments Wednesday were not made before jurors, but instead came during a hearing over whether they should be able to consider a conviction of voluntary manslaughter. Hasan is charged with premeditated murder and could face the death sentence if convicted.

Both Hasan and prosecutors balked at making a conviction on the lesser charge an option.

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