More witnesses described scenes of bloody carnage Monday at the court martial of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan, with one describing how the former Army psychiatrist fired at people “with a big grin on his face.”
That witness Ted Coukoulis, a civilian nurse, said he heard shouts and gunfire and “bodies were piled on top of each other.” He described doing CPR, adding, “I was getting a face full of blood, the kids had so much blood on them. I don’t know how much blood I swallowed that day.”
At one point, he said, Hasan was shooting “with a big grin on his face.”
Others described how they initially thought it was a drill until they heard people moaning and saw blood.
Head nurse Regina Huseman said when she walked out of her office “all you smell is the carbon, you see blood all over the floor, shell casings everywhere, bodies.”
Earlier Monday Hasan, who is defending himself in the 2009 military base shooting that left 13 dead and 30 injured, updated a military judge on his prayer schedule, and told her he'd found errands to keep one of his legal advisors busy outside the courtroom - after the court-appointed lawyers expressed strong objections to aiding in a case they believe the defendant is deliberately trying to lose.
Hasan has declined to cross-examine many witness or only lightly cross-examined others, continuing a pattern that has prompted his standby attorneys to complain he is seeking the death penalty and the martyrdom he believes it would bring.
Of the 81 prosecution witnesses, 62 had taken the stand when court recessed Monday afternoon and Hasan only has two witnesses planned for the defense.
On Monday morning, one witness wept on the stand as she listened to a replay of her frantic 911 call, while others told horrific accounts of seeing people shot and killed all around them. One witness talked about being shot in the back while lying on the ground and then repeatedly shot as he tried to crawl to safety.
The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, asked Hasan to update his prayer schedule so the court could continue to accommodate his religious rituals.
"With your permission, may I highlight?” Hasan said, before updating a schedule kept by the judge.
Last week, Hasan's legal team told Osborn in a heated exchange that being forced to advise Hasan from the sidelines as he apparently tried to lose his case put them in a "morally repugnant" situation. On Monday, Hasan asked Osborn to excuse one of his legal advisors, saying he had some tasks for him to do. Osborn permitted it, but said it would only be allowed for one day.
Pfc. Joseph Foster testified that he heard Hasan yell “Allahu Akbar” as shots rang out.
“I looked over to see what was going on, individual in full [Army Combat Uniform] had drawn a weapon and began firing,” Foster testified. “Everybody was pretty much in shock for a minute. Some people were hitting the floor, some were still sitting in their chairs.”
Foster pointed at Hasan when asked to identify the shooter.
“That man right there, sir,” he said.