- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2010

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — A military officer who will decide whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial for an Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people on a Texas base has denied a request to close a hearing to the public.

Col. James L. Pohl, a military judge acting as the investigating officer in the case, has said that at an Article 32 hearing next month, he plans to call the 32 people hurt during last November’s attack at Fort Hood to testify. Such hearings are similar to grand jury proceedings.

Defense attorney John Galligan sought to keep the hearing closed. But Col. Pohl said Thursday that keeping it open will preserve the integrity of the military justice system.

Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

Security was heavy around the Fort Hood courthouse Thursday as military police took bomb-sniffing dogs through the building and parking lot and visitors had to pass through metal detectors.

Thursday’s hearing was to be Maj. Hasan’s second appearance in a Fort Hood courtroom. At a preliminary hearing June 1, Mr. Hasan wore his Army uniform and sat solemnly in a wheelchair. He spoke only after Col. Pohl explained certain matters, replying with a soft, “Yes, sir,” when asked if he understood.

Maj. Hasan, who was paralyzed from the chest down after being shot by two Fort Hood police officers, was treated at a San Antonio military hospital until his April transfer to the Bell County Jail, which houses military suspects for nearby Fort Hood. The military justice system does not have bail for defendants.