November 24, 2009 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Hasan may plead insanity in killings

From Wire Reports

(Full-size photo)

FORT WORTH, Texas – An Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people during an attack on his Texas post will likely plead not guilty to the charges against him and may use an insanity defense at his military trial, his attorney said Monday.

John Galligan, the civilian attorney for Maj. Nidal Hasan, said he is considering an insanity defense among other options, but that it’s too early to determine his defense strategy.

“Based on the evidence thus far, his mental status must be raised,” Galligan said by phone from his office near Fort Hood. “Anybody who allegedly engages in conduct that is completely contradictory to his lifestyle and military career – an insanity defense has to be considered.”

‘Morning Edition’ host Kasell retiring

NEW YORK – Carl Kasell will finally get to sleep in. The veteran newscaster is retiring from NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

The 75-year-old Kasell has done the newcast during NPR’s flagship morning program since its inception 30 years ago. NPR says he will give his last broadcast on Dec. 30.

In a memo to National Public Radio staff and stations, managing editor David Sweeney and vice president of program- ming Margaret Low Smith praised Kasell for raising “more than a generation of listeners with his calm and authoritative newscast.”

Kasell will remain the judge and scorekeeper of “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!,” NPR’s weekly news quiz show.

Judge lengthens nurse’s sentence

WICHITA, Kan. – A Kansas nurse convicted of enslaving mentally ill residents of a Newton group home was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday after a federal judge acknowledged the original seven-year term was too short.

Linda Kaufman and her husband, Arlan, were convicted in November 2006 of forcing residents to work naked and perform sex acts, while billing the government and their families for “nude therapy” sessions.

A federal appeals court upheld the convictions but sent Linda Kaufman’s case back to U.S. District Judge Monti Belot to reconsider her seven-year sentence. Her social worker husband was sentenced to 30 years.

Trial testimony had indicated a stun gun was used on a resident’s genitals. Belot found while reconsidering sentencing that it should be considered a dangerous weapon. He also found that a large number of residents were vulnerable victims and added time for obstruction of justice.

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