News / USA

Fort Hood Shooter Rests Case

In this courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Hasan, right, appears at the Lawrence William Judicial Center during the sentencing phase of his trial, Aug. 27, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
In this courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Hasan, right, appears at the Lawrence William Judicial Center during the sentencing phase of his trial, Aug. 27, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
Greg Flakus
In the punishment phase of the Fort Hood massacre trial at the military base in Texas Tuesday, Major Nidal Hasan rested without presenting witnesses or making a statement.  Last week, Hasan was convicted of murdering 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.  After summation statements Wednesday, the decision on whether to apply the death penalty will be in the hands of the 13-member jury.  

After prosecutors concluded their presentation of witnesses who had lost loved ones or been wounded by Nidal Hasan, they rested their case.  It was then Hasan's turn to either bring forth witnesses or make a statement.  As he has done in other stages of the trial, the defendant, who is serving as his own lawyer, rested his case immediately and said no more.

Presiding Judge Colonel Tara Osborn dismissed the jury and then questioned Hasan thoroughly to make sure he understood the implications of his decision.  

Geoffrey Corn, a former military prosecutor who now teaches at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, says the judge's effort will make a later appeal less likely and ensure that Hasan has voluntarily accepted the risks involved in his decisions.

"Judge Osborn does not have an interest in making sure that the case stands up on appeal; she has an interest in making sure that the defendant is fully appraised of his constitutional and statutory rights and is able to exercise them voluntarily," he said.

By refusing to speak, Hasan gave up his last opportunity to present evidence or any kind of argument to the jury.  Corn says Hasan, motivated by his belief in radical, jihadist Islam, believes murdering 13 people and wounding more than 30 others was justified.

"I think what he is doing is expressing passively his disdain for the army and his disdain for the military justice system, by doing nothing," he said.

On Wednesday, the prosecution will give its closing summation of the evidence supporting the death penalty for Hasan, rather than life in prison.  At that point, Hasan will have an opportunity to present a closing summation, but since he has presented no evidence, Geoffrey Corn says Hasan most likely will say nothing.

The jury, or panel as it is known in military law, does not have a lot of evidence to go through, as it did in the first phase of the trial, but Corn says the 13 panel members will consider the question carefully.

"There isn't a whole lot of evidence to review, but they have to each, individually decide whether to put a human being to death and, I think, that is a big deal," he said. "I think, morally and legally, it should be hard.  These are people who understand life and death, perhaps better than most of us ever will, because of their profession, and I think they are going to take it very seriously."   

To impose the death penalty in a military capital murder case, the jurors must make a unanimous decision. Corn says he does not expect a very quick decision, but thinks a verdict is likely by late afternoon.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More