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'D' written on those killed in Fort Hood shooting

By Nomaan Merchant & Paul J. Weber

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:32 a.m. HST, Aug 09, 2013

FORT HOOD, Texas » The soldier knew she had to decide quickly who she could save, so she grabbed a black marker and wrote a "D'' on the foreheads of the dead. To people lingering over those killed amid the chaos of the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, she shouted: "You need to move on!"

Sgt. 1st Class Maria Guerra recalled those moments while testifying Thursday during the trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan. The Army psychiatrist is charged with killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others during a rampage at the sprawling Texas military base.

When prosecutors asked Guerra to describe the scene inside the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where she was worked on the base, her voice began breaking.

"I see bodies. I see bodies everywhere. And I see blood," the soldier said. "No one is moving. There was no movement. There was no sound. So I yelled out, 'Is everybody OK? ... I started hearing, 'Help me. I'm bleeding. I've been shot. Help me.'"

Guerra is among dozens of witnesses giving emotional testimony about the attack to help prosecutors build a rock-solid case for the death penalty in a court system known for overturning such sentences. The testimony resumed this morning.

Hasan is acting as his own attorney and has said little during the trial. But he raised a rare objection when Guerra said she heard the gunman silence a woman who was crying out, "My baby! My baby!"

Hasan interrupted to ask the judge, "Would you remind Sgt. 1st Class Guerra that she's under oath?"

The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, did so. But Guerra responded by saying she didn't want to change her testimony.

It was the only time Hasan objected as more than a dozen witnesses testified Thursday, continuing a mostly silent defense strategy that has caused tension with his standby attorneys. Hasan took responsibility for the attack during his opening statement, and the lawyers — who have been ordered to help Hasan during the trial — believe he is trying to secure himself a death sentence.

The military lawyers had asked the judge to either allow them to take over Hasan's defense or bar him from asking for their help with a strategy they oppose, saying his strategy was "repugnant to defense counsel and contrary to our professional obligations."

"We believe your order is causing us to violate our rules of professional conduct," Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, Hasan's lead standby attorney, told the judge earlier Thursday before witnesses testified.

Osborn refused and ordered the attorneys to resume their advisory role. The attorneys said they would appeal, though no appeal had been filed by the standby attorneys as of Thursday evening at the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, according to the court's clerk. A message left with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals wasn't immediately returned.

Jeff Corn, a law professor at South Texas College of Law, predicted that such an appeal wouldn't delay the trial and would likely be dismissed.

"As sympathetic as I am to him (Poppe) and the miserable position he's in, I think he's stuck. The law is clear: If you are a standby attorney for a pro-se defendant and the defendant wants to make decisions tactically disastrous, that's his prerogative," Corn said.

But it could also be an intended strategy to spare Hasan the death penalty, said Joe Gutheinz, a Houston-area attorney and former Army intelligence officer.

"The judge allowed him to defend himself, you raised a timely objection. That is the basis for the appeal. And it was brilliant on the part of all the parties involved. If somebody thought up this idea, it was great," Gutheinz said. "I really believe this is the only way, at end of the day, he will not be executed."

As during previous days during the trial, Hasan rarely spoke Thursday as witness after witness described a chaotic, bloody scene inside the Army post's processing center where soldiers had been preparing to deploy.

Asked to describe the rate of gunfire, Staff Sgt. Michael Davis quickly hit his hand on the ledge of the witness stand.

"I still thought it was a drill, but I heard some screaming that didn't sound like it was fake," Davis said.

Davis testified that he saw blood spray when someone was shot and quickly took cover under a desk. When he thought it safe to flee, he stood up but was quickly shot in the back.

"It was just a cold, calculated, hard stare as he shot everything that moved," Spc. Megan Martinez testified.

She recalled watching Hasan reload his pistol and the weapon's green and red laser sights sweeping through the thick, hazy smoke produced by the gunfire.

"He was walking back and forth, shooting for what felt like an eternity," she told jurors.

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lokela wrote:
Death penalty for the perp...
on August 9,2013 | 05:47AM
artmurch wrote:
I would like Muslim readers to speak up. Please tell us what is in the Koran or your religious heritage that convinces a few of you to commit such heinous crimes against other humans. I wonder why the majority (I assume) of good, peaceful Muslims are not raising their voices. Where are your street marchers with signs against those whose use your religion for their psychotic violence against one another and innocent others? Where are you religious leaders’ voices? Why are they not seen or heard condemning the murderous sociopaths flying a Muslim banner?
on August 9,2013 | 06:01AM
Grimbold wrote:
Most Muslims are not mourning and many are silently condoning the death of "non-believers".
on August 9,2013 | 06:12AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
The fact that we're not and haven't heard from Muslims condemning acts of violence says it all.
on August 9,2013 | 06:31AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
And of course you make similar demands of Christians who murder, right?
on August 9,2013 | 08:26AM
Aieagrl wrote:
Christians don't blow people up because of jesus.
on August 9,2013 | 08:33AM
MexMe wrote:
Don't they? What about the bombings of abortion clinics? I am pro-life but I don't believe in killing abortion doctors or women who who have abortions. There is nothing in the Koran that condones this behavior: this man, and other terrorists, are aberrations. Also remember that NO ONE is supporting him. He acted alone. He is no different than other mass murderers who have bizarre reasons for shooting up schools, post offices and movie theaters. He's crazy. That's the only explanation there is and all that anyone needs.
on August 9,2013 | 08:52AM
Skyler wrote:
Yeah, that happens everyday (not). Most people - Christian or otherwise - think blowing up abortion clinics & doctors & women who have abortions is heinous. I don't know anyone who condones it - do you? If you do, maybe you're hanging around the wrong people.

This Hasan character was a fanatic who took his directions from the playbook of al Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki. And you are correct: he's crazy.
on August 9,2013 | 11:01AM
Morimoto wrote:
Calling Hasan crazy is a blanket excuse for not wanting to find the reasons why he did what he did. We all know why he did what he did, he even said himself multiple times but sheep like you only hear what you want to hear.
on August 9,2013 | 11:05AM
Morimoto wrote:
I'm not Muslim but I understand why Hasan did what he did. He's basically a soldier fighting a war. He picked a side, and did what he felt was right. If the U.S. hadn't been invading Muslim countries for decades none of this would have happened. I feel no sympathy towards those that died, they were going to Afghanistan to kill people, Hasan prevented that from happening. The U.S. has a right to execute him, but I don't feel what Hasan did is any worse than a U.S. soldier killing the enemy in Afghanistan or Iraq.
on August 9,2013 | 08:31AM
MexMe wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on August 9,2013 | 08:57AM
Morimoto wrote:
So you're saying if they were all soldiers it would be okay right? You're right soldiers save lives, just like the soldier Nadal Hasan saved lives in Afghanistan. Now those he killed won't have the opportunity to kill others. Isn't that right? Americans are also killing people who don't do as they say (ex. Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan). In war you use whatever means necessary to defeat the enemy, especially if your enemy is much stronger than you. You can call Hasan a traitor if you want but you can't call what he did anything other than waging war against the enemy. He isn't crazy. He didn't decide one morning when he woke up to just go and shoot a bunch of people. This was planned over a period of time. Your logic is flawed. Calling me crazy is a weak attempt to discredit my views.
on August 9,2013 | 10:53AM
Bothrops wrote:
If he was a soldier fighting a war against the United States, he would have resigned his commission, moved to Afghanistan and hidden in caves while feasting on dead goat cooked over a cow dung fire. He was instead there as an American officer, shooting his own troops. Sounds like treason to me: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. " Article III.
on August 9,2013 | 10:50AM
Morimoto wrote:
In war you do whatever means necessary to kill the enemy, especially if they are much stronger than you. I agree he's guilty under law, but then again, he already accomplished what he wanted to do. He wants to be executed so I have no problem executing him. It's fair that he die just like those he targeted died. Then again, those he killed are not heros in any way and neither was Hasan. Just people fighting for different interests.
on August 9,2013 | 11:12AM
Skyler wrote:
Sounds like you need some help before you off someone.
on August 9,2013 | 11:02AM
Aieagrl wrote:
That is the exact reason why the US rounded up all the Japanese and locked them up in camps. Now go ahead and tell us how bad of a thing it was for the US to do that Morimoto-san.
on August 9,2013 | 12:06PM
Morimoto wrote:
This situation has nothing to do with the internment of Japanese Americans. Your analogy is irrelevant. I stand by my what I originally posted.
on August 9,2013 | 01:19PM
Aieagrl wrote:
Yes it does based on what you said. He chose a side to fight for, even though he took an oath to defend this country, he chose his religious side over it. Just like if the US was at war with japan right now, Im sure you would grab your katana and kill all the "enemies", right? Go ahead and back paddle now.
on August 9,2013 | 02:39PM
Morimoto wrote:
I said "he" picked a side and fought. I didn't say "Muslims in the U.S." picked a side and fought. Why are you so sure I'm Japanese, because I have a Japanese username? Maybe I'm just a fan of Iron Chef? Anyways if you go by that logic if a white supremist wages an attack on the U.S. government, all white people should be locked up? My original post wasn't even about internment, you just brought it up in a failed attempt to play the race card. I'm talking about Hasan fighting for what he thought was right and Hasan being a soldier waging war and how he's no worse than those U.S. soldiers who go to Afghnistan and kill people (innocents and enemy soldiers). Forget internment, I don't even care about that.
on August 9,2013 | 03:18PM
Anonymous wrote:
Paddle harder, your argument is falling apart on you.
on August 9,2013 | 04:21PM
Morimoto wrote:
You sound strangely like Kiragirl, naive and not knowing how to argue. I don't care about Japan or Japanese people any more than I care about any other people. Go back to school to learn how to argue a point.
on August 9,2013 | 03:21PM
Grimbold wrote:
How many Muslim "sleepers" are still lurking in the military?
on August 9,2013 | 06:10AM
hawaiinui wrote:
This is a horrible thought, but a reality. There is no defense for some terrorist attack that is wrapped within the human soul.
on August 9,2013 | 06:35AM
Morimoto wrote:
Well I guess now they know how Iraqis and Afghans feel when we invaded their country. I give no sympathy to the "victims" whatsoever. In fact, I'd rather they have perished than some Taliban or Iraqi. Do a search on "collateral murder Iraq" and you'll see how the U.S. treats those that don't agree with them.
on August 9,2013 | 08:35AM
Grimbold wrote:
Morimoto, is your real name Mohammed such and such?
on August 9,2013 | 09:18AM
Bothrops wrote:
The headline stinks. Sgt Guerra was heroically moving to help casualties on a battlefield and she did a triage. We really don't need to know about the D's on the forehead. Give the dead their dignity; they died for their country.
on August 9,2013 | 10:46AM
Skyler wrote:
I hope he gets the rope, firing squad or electric chair. A shot would be too easy.
on August 9,2013 | 10:55AM
entrkn wrote:
Guerra is a Hero...!
on August 9,2013 | 11:09AM
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