Nidal Malik Hasan, the now-paralyzed Army psychiatrist who is suspected of killing 12 people in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting spree, is still getting paid by the military, and a group of lawmakers are trying to end it.
On Tuesday, the trial for Hasan began. Hasan, who is acting as his own lawyer, said that “I am the shooter,” according to reports.
U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and other lawmakers are trying to suspend paying military service members from getting paid after being charged with certain crimes.
“It is outrageous that taxpayers continue to pay an accused terrorist that killed more than a dozen people,” Barton told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. “Does anyone think this make sense? You are innocent until proven guilty in this country, but that doesn’t mean you should be rewarded while awaiting trial.”
And that is why the coalition of lawmakers–sponsored also by Reps. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and Frank Wolf, R-Va.–have introduced the Stop Pay for Violent Offenders Act.
Military service members charged with sexual assault, murder, or rape can have their pay suspended under the new bill.
“This bill would correct a huge oversight that has allowed military personnel charged with a serious crime to continue to receive their pay while awaiting trial,” Wolf told the paper. “Does anybody really think it’s right that Nidal Hasan has collected more than $200,000 in taxpayer dollars since being charged in the Fort Hood shootings?”
After years of delays the trial for Hasan, an American-born Muslim, finally began. He was left paralyzed after police shot him in the back following the shooting spree.
“We Mujahedeen are imperfect soldiers trying to form a perfect religion. I apologize for any mistakes I made in this endeavor,” said Hasan, according to ABC News.
The trial is slated to cost around $5 million.
Hasan added that “evidence will show I was on the wrong side of America’s war and I later switched sides,” reported USA Today.
Col. Steve Henricks, in the opening statements, said that Hasan “came to believe he had a jihad duty to kill as many soldiers as possible.” Henricks pointed to him scouring jihad websites while training his skills with a FN 5.7 handgun at a firing range.