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Army judge will decide if Fort Hood shooting suspect can plead guilty, be spared death penalty

The new judge in the Fort Hood shooting case will decide next week whether to spare Maj. Nidal Hasan the death penalty and let him plead guilty.

The military judge will decide whether to remove execution as a punishment option for the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 rampage. Col. Tara Osborn has set pretrial hearings for next Wednesday through Friday.

Defense attorneys say Hasan wants to plead guilty to 13 counts of premeditated murder. 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 in the attack on the Texas Army post.

He currently faces execution or life in military prison without parole if convicted. His trial date has not been set.

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