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Fort Hood victims 'shot lying down'

At least four people killed during a gunman's rampage at US military base Fort Hood in 2009 were likely shot while lying on the floor inside a building, experts have testified during a trial.

Pathologists who conducted several post-mortem examinations on bodies of victims described the wounds caused by an FN 5.7 semi-automatic pistol while testifying at the military trial of Major Nidal Hasan.

He is accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others during the attack at the Texas base.

Michael Grant Cahill, a physician's assistant who tried to stop Hasan, was shot six times, including once through his neck, according to pathologist Captain Edward Reedy. He told jurors that some of Mr Cahill's wounds suggest he was shot while lying down.

Witnesses said he was armed only with a chair when he charged Hasan as the Army psychiatrist opened fire. Mr Cahill was the lone civilian who died in the rampage, which remains the worst mass shooting ever on a US military installation.

Mr Reedy told jurors that another victim, Private first class Kham Xiong, was shot three times including twice in the head. When asked by prosecutors whether the married father-of-three may have been standing when shot, he said Mr Xiong's wounds were "more consistent with lying on the ground".

Similar fatal injuries were inflicted on Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman, a 55-year-old military physician assistant, who another pathologist said suffered four bullet wounds that were consistent with someone lying on their stomach or side when they were shot.

The fatal gunshot wound suffered by 22-year-old Specialist Jason Dean Hunt, who was shot three times, also could be consistent with someone shot while lying down, said Dr Edward Mazuchowski II, who was the director of operations at Dover Air Force Base's mortuary at the time of the attacks.

All of the victims' bodies were taken to the Delaware base following the November 5, 2009, shootings. Pathologists have so far detailed their findings about seven of the victims, and more testimony from medical examiners is due later.

Before testimony began, Hasan told the judge he had authorised the release of a report showing that he told military mental health experts after the attack that he "would still be a martyr" if he were convicted and executed by the government. Hasan could face the death penalty if convicted.

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