November 22, 2009 in Nation/World

In brief: Fort Hood shooting suspect will stay in custody until trial

From Wire Reports

(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Fort Worth, Texas – The Army psychiatrist charged in one of the worst mass shootings on a U.S. military base will be confined until his military trial, initially staying in a hospital where he is recovering from gunshot wounds, his attorney said Saturday.

During a hearing at Maj. Nidal Hasan’s hospital room in San Antonio on Saturday, a magistrate ruled that there was probable cause that Hasan committed the Nov. 5 shooting at Fort Hood, said his civilian attorney, John Galligan. Hasan has been at Brooke Army Medical Center since the shooting that killed 13 and wounded two dozen others.

Galligan told the Associated Press that the judge also ordered Hasan to pretrial confinement, which usually means jail, until his court-martial.

The magistrate ruled that Hasan will initially remain in the hospital, where he is in intensive care, Galligan said.

Galligan said Hasan has no feeling from the chest down and has limited movement in his arms. Hasan has been told his paralysis is permanent, his attorney said.

Passenger stabbed to death in dispute over subway seat

New York – A subway passenger was stabbed to death in front of horrified riders in a dispute with another man over a seat in the car early Saturday morning in midtown Manhattan, police said.

The victim, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the Seventh Avenue station at West 53rd Street, where the train stopped after the attack at about 2 a.m. The victim, who was in his mid-30s, was repeatedly stabbed in the neck and face with a knife, police said.

He had boarded the train at the Rockefeller Center station, police said.

Gerardo Sanchez, 37, of the Bronx, was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the slaying on the northbound “D” train, police said.

His brother, Louis Sanchez, told the New York Daily News that Gerardo Sanchez recently had been hurt in a workplace accident and was taking medication.

Former military nurse acquitted of killing patients

San Antonio – A court-martial acquitted a former military nurse of murder Saturday after he was accused of giving lethal doses of painkillers to hasten the deaths of three terminally ill patients at the Air Force’s largest hospital.

Capt. Michael Fontana, wearing his Air Force uniform, showed no emotion as a military judge cleared him of three counts of murder, then collapsed into the arms of weeping family members inside a Lackland Air Force Base courtroom.

Military prosecutors had painted Fontana as a rogue and arrogant nurse who pumped patients full of fentanyl and morphine when they were not “dying quick enough.” After the ruling, Fontana said he never second-guessed his treatment or dosages.

“My intention the whole time was to take care of dying patients,” Fontana said.

Fontana, 36, said he wants to return to nursing.

Students occupy UC building in protest over hikes, cuts

Santa Cruz, Calif. – Dozens of protesters occupied the main administrative building at University of California, Santa Cruz on Saturday in the third straight day of protest over fee hikes and cuts to campus services.

School officials said they wouldn’t negotiate with the demonstrators until obstructions at the occupied Kerr Hall are cleared.

Protests began Thursday after the university system’s regents approved a 32 percent fee hike at a meeting in Los Angeles.

On Friday, 41 people inside UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall were arrested after occupying that building for most of the day. Thirty to 50 protesters took over UCLA’s Campbell Hall on Thursday, and more than 50 students were arrested during protests at UC Davis.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email