Nidal Hasan Trial: Death Penalty Verdict For Fort Hood Shooter

A military jury has just sentenced Maj. Nidal Hasan to death on Wednesday for the 2009 Fort Hood massacre which left 13 people dead and many wounded.

The decision came after a 13-member military tribunal heard almost an hour of closing arguments from government officials condenming the shooter. Hasan himself offered no response, saying only that he has "no closing statement." The shooter is paralyzed after being shot by military police during the November 2009 attack, and sits in a wheelchair.

"He will never be a martyr because he has nothing to give," lead military prosecutor Colonel Michael Mulligan said in closing arguments. "He is a criminal, a cold-blooded murderer."

Families of victims in the attack were reportedly weeping during the trial while Hasan remained stoic, with his eyes averted. The victims' stories that were recounted of the carnage that day were graphic and emotional. 55-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman was shot four times and knew she was dying from internal bleeding. "She had just a few minutes to pass on one final message," prosecutors recounted, saying among her last words were "Tell my family I love them." 

Colonel Mulligan spoke of one family member of a victim, Spc. Jason Hunt's surviving widow, who told him she faced severe emotional trauma in raising her three children alone. "Grief is a personal emotion," Mulligan said, pointing his finger at Hasan. "He chose the time, he chose the place, he chose the victims and he chose the deadliest of shots." For these reasons, Mulligan said, "the just and appropriate sentence in this is death."

Hasan's former attorney John Galligan told the Washington Post that his former client had a realistic view of his possible fate. He said his client perceived he was a victim of a "ludicrous show trial," and challenged accusations that Hasan was actively seeking this fate, saying, "He doesn't have a death wish."

No active duty soldier has been executed since 1961, although some currently stand on death row.

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Rachel George

Rachel is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics. She holds a BA in Politics from Princeton and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard. Her interests include journalism, U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and international law.

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