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August 22, 2013

Jury in Fort Hood rampage trial set to deliberate

(Continued)

FORT HOOD, Texas —

The exchange between Hasan and Phillips happened on the trial's first day. But since then, Hasan has shifted into a passive and muted presence in court, suggesting that he may not even consider that evidence relevant anymore.

Evidence submitted by prosecutors include Hasan's laptop hard drive, which revealed Internet searches for "jihad" and an article about Taliban leaders urging attacks on Americans. There are also dozens of photo diagrams of the medical center where the shooting unfolded, each marked up by soldiers who drew where they were standing — and where they hid — where when the gunfire began.

Jurors are not required to revisit the evidence before deciding whether Hasan is guilty of capital charges that could put him on the military's death row, said Geoffrey Corn, a professor at the South Texas College of Law. Corn is among a few experts who have closely followed the case and taught one of the government's prosecutors, Col. Mike Mulligan, at the graduate level.

Corn said that even though Hasan's guilt may seem clear-cut, the jury may recognize the gravity of the trial and use due diligence.

On the other hand, Corn said, they might start deliberations and quickly find they're in agreement.

"There may be a mood that we want to send a message that this has been proven so overwhelmingly, that they don't need any more time," Corn said. "They could come out in an hour."

Jurors must unanimously convict Hasan of multiple killings, and then unanimously vote to sentence him to death, for Hasan to be sent to death row.

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