FORT BRAGG, N.C. – A defense psychiatrist testified Tuesday that Sgt. Hasan Akbar (search) was sane and knew the consequences of his actions when he threw grenades into tents occupied by fellow soldiers during a 2003 attack in Kuwait.
Dr. George Woods Jr. (search) initially testified that Akbar may have suffered from schizophrenia and depression at the time of the attack that killed two soldiers and wounded 14.
But under cross-examination by lead Army prosecutor Lt. Col. Michael Mulligan (search), Woods acknowledged he had ruled out a diagnosis of insanity.
Woods reluctantly said "yes" when asked if Akbar "understood the natural consequences of the act" when he threw the grenades. Woods attempted to explain, but Mulligan pressed simply for the yes or no answer.
Woods also said Akbar understood that a grenade was a lethal weapon and exhibited an ability to make plans, although he noted that Akbar's plans were frequently unsuccessful.
The backfired testimony could hurt the defense's effort to spare Akbar a death sentence. Defense lawyers are not disputing that Akbar carried out the attack but are seeking to show he was mentally incapable of premeditating it.
Akbar, 33, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Prosecutors have said Akbar planned the attack and told investigators he carried it out because he was worried United States forces would harm fellow Muslims. Last week, the prosecution introduced diary entries in which Akbar wrote he might have to kill his "battle buddies."
The court-martial, in its second week, is the first time since the Vietnam era that an American has been prosecuted on charges of murdering a fellow soldier during wartime.