FORT HOOD, Texas -- A judge has decided a Fort Hood shooting suspect still can face the death penalty if convicted in the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation.
The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, on Wednesday denied Maj. Nidal Hasan's request to remove the death penalty as a punishment option. His attorneys argued it was unconstitutional because the military justice system is not equal to the civilian system.
Hasan also tried to enter a guilty plea to 13 counts of premeditated murder in the 2009 attack on the Texas Army post. But Army rules prohibit a judge from accepting a guilty plea in a death penalty case.
Hasan also is charged with 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. He faces execution or life in prison without parole.
In the courtroom, Hasan wore green army fatigues. He also has a long, bushy beard. Col. Osborn said she does not have the authority to make him shave it, even though it violates army regulations. She says that's up to Hasan's commanding officer.
Osborn is holding hearings Wednesday through Friday to reconsider defense motions previously rejected by the former judge.