Trials & Litigation

Jury says Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan should get death penalty


An Army psychiatrist who admittedly shot dozens of people at Fort Hood in 2009, insisted on representing himself at his court-martial and presented virtually no defense or justification for his actions should get the death penalty, a 13-member military jury has ruled.

Maj. Nidal Hasan’s shooting rampage at the Texas military base left 13 dead and more than 30 wounded. Taking the same approach to the sentencing phase as he did to the defense of his capital murder trial, the 42-year-old defendant presented no witnesses, sought to introduce no documents, made few, if any, statements and rebuffed repeated efforts by his standby defense counsel to help him more effectively handle his case, CNN reports.

The court-martial is now adjourned, and Hasan is expected to be sent from Fort Hood to a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., according to KUT and KXAN.

Because of automatic appeals, it is likely that his death sentence, if upheld, will not be imposed for years. If put to death, he would be the first American soldier executed in more than 50 years, reports the CNN reported in a separate article.

Given the Muslim convert’s apparent quest for what he perceives as religious martyrdom, justice would be better-served by a life prison term, some have argued. Hasan, who was shot in the back during the massacre at Fort Hood, is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair and would benefit from an opportunity to contemplate his crimes at length in the obscurity of a prison cell, opponents of execution say.

But the lead prosecutor told the jury Hasan will “never be a martyr” and deserves death.

“He is a criminal. He is a cold-blooded murderer,” argued Col. Mike Mulligan on Wednesday. “This is not his gift to God. This is his debt to society. This is the cost of his murderous rampage.”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Military judge says Hasan can choose own trial strategy, orders defense lawyers to stay on standby”

ABAJournal.com: “Hasan found guilty of 13 counts of murder in Fort Hood shooting rampage”

Dallas Morning News (opinion): “Death sentence does not equal justice for Nidal Hasan”

New York Times (req. req.): “Jury Sentences Hasan to Death for Fort Hood Rampage”

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