Army Formally Denies Medals for Hasan Victims - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Army Formally Denies Medals for Hasan Victims

by Bruce Gietzen

SAN ANTONIO - The U.S. Army has formally denied Purple Heart medals for Nidal Hasan's shooting victims, saying it would damage the accused gunman's ability to get a fair trial.

The Army explained awarding Purple Hearts would "set the stage for a formal declaration that Major Hasan is a terrorist", according to Reuters.

Purple Hearts signify a person was wounded or killed by an enemy of the United States, and the Army said the Ft. Hood rampage was a domestic attack.

The Army explained in its position paper a terrorist declaration could mean another year-long delay in Hasan's court martial, and the victims need closure.

U.S. Rep. John Carter, whose district includes Ft. Hood, released a statement late Friday night disagreeing with the Army's decision.

"After additional investigation into the potential implications of pre-trial publicity, I am postponing any future publicity on these bills at this stage of Major. Hasan's trial.  However, the victims of this tragic shooting fully quality for compensation pay and purple heart recognition," the Congressman said.

"The DOD position paper is dead wrong to oppose this legislation. These victims deserve recognition and compensation for the injuries and loss of life from a direct attack on a U.S. military installation," he added.
                                                                                                                                                      Congressman Carter promised, "I will not do anything to undermine Maj. Hasan's trial but I will not rest until these victims get the recognition they deserve."

Some of the victims and their families have filed a federal lawsuit to get Purple Hearts and the enhanced benefits that go with it.

Hasan, 42, will stand trial this summer for capital murder and attempted capital murder for the November 2009 rampage.  A military judge ruled earlier this week he cannot plead guilty since military guidelines prohibit  that plea in a case involving the death penalty.

Jury selection for that court martial starts May 29 and the actual trial should begin around July 1 and could last 3-4 months.  Prosecutors have more than 300 potential witnesses who could testify.

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