The Army major charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in last week's shooting rampage at Ft. Hood is paralyzed, according to his civilian counsel.
Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, who is recovering in an Army hospital's intensive care unit, is in "extremely serious" condition, retired Col. John Galligan said this morning.
Galligan met with his client yesterday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, after Nasan was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder. Their meeting lasted about an hour.
Galligan was joined by an unidentified member of Hasan's family.
"He cannot get up and walk," Galligan told a group of reporters gathered at Ft. Hood's main entrance, adding that Hasan's paralysis is likely from the waist down. Galligan said that his client was also experiencing intense pain in his hands.
Galligan also told reporters that Hasan's speech is garbled.
On CBS' "The Early Show" this morning, Galligan said his client has been coherent in their discussions despite his medical condition.
When asked by anchor Harry Smith if he thought Hasan was competent to stand trial, Galligan acknowledged his client's condition is guarded.
Hasan shows "ability to relate with me," Galligan said. "He understands who I am, we can talk, he knows what time it is. But, again, I was only there for an hour and I could tell at the end of that one-hour session I was kind of pushing the limits in terms of my ability to keep him fresh and alert in a discussion with me.
"His medical condition is extremely serious."
Yesterday the Army psychiatrist was charged in a military court with 13 counts of premeditated murder in the attack that also left 29 people wounded, and he may face other charges. Hasan, who is at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio recovering from bullet wounds, could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
Galligan expressed unhappiness that the charges were apparently read to his client in the hospital yesterday without either him or his military counsel present.
"I was totally surprised to learn that there was going to be a major press release," he said. "When I queried about that, I wasn't too sure what time it was going to occur, what it was going to be about. But I learned from actually members of the media that apparently he was going to be charged yesterday. I was surprised by that and I was saddened by the manner in which it occurred because I received belated notice."
Smith asked if it were unusual, in a case of this importance, for the suspect to be charged without an attorney present.
"Well, there's no legal requirement that I be present when the charges have been preferred," Galligan said. "However, given as you've noted the high profile nature of the case, given his location and status, still in the ICU, and described by me based on the last timing I saw him in a medical condition that I would describe as guarded, I was extremely upset to learn that they were going about this important step in the pretrial procedural process without formally notifying me - by that I mean ensuring that I knew it was going to be done, coordinating it in advance. That would have permitted me to be down there.
"In all honesty, my first five minutes with the client was spent almost apologizing for the manner in which it went down. This wasn't . . . my responsibility, but that's what happened."