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TEXAS

Court: No ruling on Fort Hood suspect’s beard

FORT HOOD — The trial of the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage will go forward, according to a military appeals court ruling Monday. The court did not address whether his beard could be shaved forcibly before the court-martial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces said that Maj. Nidal Hasan’s appeal was premature because the trial judge hasn’t issued a definitive, written order for the forced shaving. If the judge issues that order, then Mr. Hasan can appeal it, the court said.

The appeals court temporarily delayed Mr. Hasan’s upcoming trial while it considered his appeal of the judge’s comments that he would order Mr. Hasan to be forcibly shaved if he refused to shave the beard himself.

Mr. Hasan, 41, faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted in the November 2009 shooting rampage that killed 13 and wounded more than two dozen others on the Texas Army post.

Mr. Hasan’s attorneys have said he grew the beard, which violates Army regulations, as an expression of his Muslim faith. They argued that forcing him to shave would violate his religious freedoms. They also have said Mr. Hasan wouldn’t shave because he had a premonition that his death is imminent, and doesn’t want to die beardless because he believes not having one is a sin.

According to military regulations, soldiers who disobey orders to be clean-shaven can be forcibly shaved.

The judge, Col. Gregory Gross, has banned Maj. Hasan from courtroom hearings since he first showed up in court in June with a beard. Maj. Hasan has watched proceedings on a closed-circuit television in a nearby room.

NEW YORK

Body of girl, 5, found; 2 in custody

NIAGARA FALLS — A trusted family friend killed a 5-year-old western New York girl at her great-grandmother’s home, put her body in a trash bag and dumped it in an alley garbage can, police said Monday.

Niagara Falls Chief Detective William Thompson said two people were in custody and will be charged in the death of Isabella Sarah Tennant. The second person was involved after the girl was already dead, Detective Thompson said.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Detective Thompson said Isabella was visiting her great-grandmother’s house in downtown Niagara Falls. She was last seen alive around 10:30 p.m. Sunday by a 16-year-old boy who often did chores for the great-grandmother. Her family reported her missing around 6 a.m., and her body was found fully clothed four hours later in an alley a few blocks away.

One of the suspects came to police on his own Monday morning and helped lead investigators to the body. Detective Thompson said there were signs of injuries.

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