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Panel Selected To Decide Nidal Hasan's Fate

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Panel selection in the case against Accused Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan finished in a military court on post Tuesday morning.

The 13 officer panel made up of 11 men and 2 women ranging in rank from Major to Colonel will decide Hasan's fate.

Hasan, an Army Psychiatrist, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder for the November 5, 2009, shooting rampage on post.

10 of the panel members were selected last week, and the final three, along with 3 others who have since been excused, were questioned by Hasan, the prosecution and the judge Monday.

The panel could have been as large as 16 officers, but Monday the prosecution requested two of them be disqualified partly for being strongly against the death penalty and one for being strongly for it.

There were also concerns about an admitted lack of impartiality from the two who support the death penalty.

Hasan had no objections to any of the proposed disqualifications.

In court Tuesday, the Military judge presiding, COL Tara Osborn, initially denied the disqualification of the officer who was strongly in favor of the death penalty, stating that he made it clear when questioned that he could set that aside and follow the rules of the court.

But when the judge gave both sides a chance to challenge any of the 14 panel members who still qualified, the prosecution raised a new issue about the officer she had denied to disqualify.

Colonel Mike Mulligan reminded her that the officer told the court Monday he violated the court order to avoid publicity about the shootings and proceedings until panel selection.

He also brought attention to the fact that the officer wasn't wearing his uniform properly.

COL Mulligan said, "Simple the wearing of his uniform shows he follows his own rules, it's an inability to follow orders."

Accepting their concerns that the officer might not be able to follow the orders of the court during court martial, the judge granted their challenge, and the officer was disqualified.

The standing 13 panel members have been temporarily excused until the August 6, trial.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas

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