Fort Hood jurors end first day of deliberations

Judge Col. Tara Osborn, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and stand-by defense attorney, Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, left, in a courtroom sketch from Wednesday. Brigitte Woosley / AP

A military jury recessed for the day Thursday after its first partial day of deliberations in the court-martial of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan in the shooting spree that killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

The 13-person jury briefly returned to the courtroom late in the afternoon, sparking speculation that it might have reached a verdict, but it simply asked that the testimony of a prosecution witness be reread.

Hasan, 42, a military psychiatrist, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of premeditated attempted murder for the 31 people he injured Nov. 5, 2009, at the Army post in Killeen, in central Texas, plus one other he shot at and missed. 

At the opening of the trial two weeks ago, Hasan, who is acting as his own attorney, admitted having committed the attack after "changing sides" in what he called a U.S. war on Islam.

Hasan called no witnesses Wednesday after prosecutors rested their case, and he made no closing statement to the jury Thursday. By contrast, military prosecutors called almost 90 witnesses to detail the carnage at a medical facility.

In their 90-minute closing argument, prosecutors outlined how Hasan planned the attack, turning the scene into "his personal kill zone."

"The accused went out to kill as many soldiers as he could that day — or anyone who tried to stop him," Army Col. Steve Henricks, a military prosecutor, told the jurors.

Court documents revealed that Hasan, a U.S.-born Muslim, told mental health evaluators that he wanted to become a martyr. Civilian lawyers assigned to his case have said was seeking the death penalty, a claim Hasan disputed in a conference with the judge outside the jury's presence early in the trial.

Charles Hadlock of NBC News contributed to this report.

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