FORT HOOD, Texas — Convicted Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hassan shocked the jury panel this week when, acting as his own lawyer, he presented his entire defense in the capital sentencing phase of his court-martial in three words, saying, “The defense rests.” Shortly thereafter, Hassan was shocked himself to discover that he was, in fact, the defense and had been the one standing trial the whole time.
“Wait, what?” asked the wheelchair-bound Hassan as authorities led him from the courtroom. “That was me they were talking about up there? Whoa! Hold up! Why didn’t somebody tell me! I was at a Denny’s!”
The revelation that Hassan had been unaware of his specific role in the trial was something of a light bulb moment for the jurors. “The entire trial suddenly just made a lot more sense,” explained Juror 37B, a white female in her late 60s. “I had been wondering why the defendant didn’t ask a single question to any of the prosecution’s witnesses, didn’t introduce any evidence or reasons as to why we should give him the death penalty, refused to mount a defense in either his trial or his sentencing, and every now and then would flash a thumbs-up or a high-five sign to the prosecution after especially damning testimony.”
“I agree,” said Juror 53H, a white male in his late 60s. “He really seemed to be pulling for the prosecution. I think I caught him mouthing the words ‘fry the bastard’ at one point.”
In a previous trial, Hassan was found guilty of the November 5, 2009 shooting rampage on the U.S. Army base at Fort Hood that left 13 dead and 32 others wounded. This more recent trial was meant to determine whether or not he would receive the death penalty for his actions.
Reached for comment after his outburst in court, a shell-shocked Hassan attempted to explain his misunderstanding. “All these people kept talking about being shot at Fort Hood, or losing loved ones who were shot at Fort Hood. I kept waiting for them to call me to testify because I, too, was shot at Fort Hood,” he said, referring to the fact that he was wounded and paralyzed by military police during his attack. “Then when the case went over to the defense and nobody was saying anything, I was confused. “I didn’t say ‘the defense rests’ meaning I had no defense to offer. It was a question. As in, ‘the defense rests?’ You know, wondering what the hell they were thinking.”