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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

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