From Jennifer Rizzo
A military appeals court halted the murder case against Maj. Nidal Hasan on Wednesday over a judge's threat to shave the beard the Army psychiatrist grew while awaiting trial in the 2009 Fort Hood killings.
Hasan's court-martial had been scheduled to start Monday at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, where he is accused of killing 13 people and wounding another 32. The presiding judge, Col. Gregory Gross, had threatened to have him forcibly shaved unless he got rid of the beard, which is against Army regulations.
Wednesday's order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces now means the trial date is unknown. Gross has until August 22 to respond to the appeals court.
Hasan had been expected to enter a plea during a Wednesday hearing, but the proceedings were halted by the appellate court, . Hasan has previously expressed interest in pleading guilty, but military regulations bar a judge from accepting a guilty plea in a capital case.
Hasan is accused of opening fire at the post's processing center, where soldiers were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq, in November 2009. The stay came the same day he was expected to enter a plea to the charges against him.