News / USA

Fort Hood Shooting Case Goes to Jury

Judge Col. Tara Osborn, top, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, right, and defense attorney, Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, left, Aug. 21, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
Judge Col. Tara Osborn, top, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, right, and defense attorney, Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, left, Aug. 21, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
The jury is now deliberating in the trial of U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, accused of murdering 13 people in a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009.  The judge turned the case over to the panel, as it is called in military courts, after the prosecution completed its closing statement.  The defendant, who is representing himself, declined to speak.

Isolated in a room in a heavily guarded building at Fort Hood, the panel members are now going over the evidence against Nidal Hasan.  There is no evidence to contradict the prosecution case because Hasan, representing himself, offered none in his defense and openly admitted that he had done the shooting.

In order to show premeditation, which is necessary for conviction on the capital murder charge, the prosecution provided evidence that Hasan had purchased the murder weapon and practiced with it well in advance of the attack.  They also showed he had been motivated by radical Muslims who preach violent jihad against anyone they consider an enemy of Islam.  The presiding judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, imposed some restrictions, but did allow evidence of Hasan's recent exposure to radical Islam through Internet searches.

The compiled evidence showed that this was a well-planned, jihad-motivated attack, according to Jeffrey Addicott, a military law expert at the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University in San Antonio

"The government did say in their closing argument today that he was motivated by jihad to engage in these murders.  There is overwhelming evidence to back up that contention," said Addicott.

A few days ago, the prosecution and Hasan agreed on a definition of jihad that could be given to the jury.  It includes the idea of fighting violently against non-believers and a guarantee that anyone killed while carrying out jihad will have a place in paradise.

In order to convict Hasan of the capital murder charge, which carries the death penalty, the jury must make a unanimous decision.  A three-fourths agreement is sufficient for other charges.

Jeffrey Addicott says that if the panel convicts Hasan of the capital charge, it will then move on to the trial's punishment phase.

"What happens next is that the defense gets to put forth evidence of extenuation and mitigation; the prosecution gets to put on evidence that he deserves the death penalty," he said. "So that will be a couple of days process.  That will take a couple of days process.  Now, this case is unique because I believe Hasan will not put on any evidence that he should not die.  In fact, quite the contrary, he will tell the jury, 'I want to die.'"

The panel must also make a unanimous decision to impose the death penalty.  The votes are marked on paper ballots and  kept secret.

The panel hearing the Hasan case consists of 12 officers, plus one officer who serves as a backup member.  There are nine colonels, three lieutenant colonels and one major.  The panelists came to Fort Hood from other bases around the country so they would not have any direct connection to the people wounded or killed in the shooting.

You May Like

Photogallery Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs