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News Scan

Fort Hood Gunman to Represent Himself:  The saga of prosecuting Major Nidal Hasan for gunning down 45 people, leaving 13 dead at Fort Hood in November of 2009 continues, with his request today that he be allowed to act as his own attorney.  Jim Forsyth of Reuters reports that the judge will have little choice under U.S. law but to grant Hasan's request, although it will almost certainly prolong the trial and create more opportunities for appeal.   Hasan had earlier indicated that he is willing to plead guilty if the government would agree not to ask for a death sentence. 

Murderer Drops Appeal:   AP writer Lynne Tuohy reports that Steven Spader, who was convicted of the 2009 home invasion murder of Kimberly Cates and the maiming of her 11-year-old daughter, has asked that his appeal for a reduced sentence before the New Hampshire Supreme Court be dropped.   Spader who had been sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) was re sentenced last month to life plus 76 years in response to last June's Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama.  In that case, the Supreme Court forbade mandatory LWOP sentences for those who commit murders before their 18th birthday, although allowing such sentences when the sentencer has discretion.  Spader was one month shy of 18 when he and and two accomplices broke into the Cates home and hacked the 42-year-old nurse to death with a machete and attempted to murder her daughter, who faked her death to survive, although permanently disfigured.  In a letter to the court expressing remorse, Spader wrote "I choose not to slip by on some technicality." 

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