Experts: Fort Hood suspect's beard might bias jury

4:09 PM, Aug 28, 2012   |    comments
Undated photo of Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shootings
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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Some experts say the Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shooting rampage might face a harsher jury if he's allowed to break Army policy and attend his murder trial with a beard.

And if Hasan's beard isn't forcibly shaved beard as the judge wants, that could be grounds for an appeal if he's convicted and sentenced to death for the 2009 attack that killed 13 on the Texas Army post.

Experts say military juries don't like to see defendants disobeying a rule.

Hasan says his newly grown beard is an expression of his Muslim faith. The issue is far from over because a military appeals court says the judge hasn't yet issued a definitive order for Hasan to be forcibly shaved - so Hasan's appeal was premature.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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