News / USA

Victims of Fort Hood Shooter Tell Court of Their Suffering

In this courtroom sketch, Staff Sgt. Patrick Ziggler, who was injured in the Fort Hood shootings, appears on the witness stand in a courtroom sketch during the sentencing phase in the trial for Maj. Nidal Hasan, Aug. 26, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
In this courtroom sketch, Staff Sgt. Patrick Ziggler, who was injured in the Fort Hood shootings, appears on the witness stand in a courtroom sketch during the sentencing phase in the trial for Maj. Nidal Hasan, Aug. 26, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
TEXT SIZE - +
Greg Flakus
— In a courtroom at Fort Hood, Texas Monday, Major Nidal Hasan sat quietly as witness after witness described how their lives were shattered when he went on a murderous shooting rampage there in November 2009. The jury hearing the dramatic testimony has only two choices with regard to Hasan's fate - life in prison or death.

Relatives of the 13 people killed by Nidal Hasan in his methodical killing spree nearly four years ago told the jury Monday about their pain and suffering. Some parents and spouses of the dead said they feel their lives also ended that day.

Three men wounded in the shootings told the jury how their careers and the lives they had hoped to live were taken away by Hasan.

The convicted murderer remained silent as the witnesses spoke.

Geoffrey Corn, a former military prosecutor who now teaches at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, was on hand at Fort Hood for the dramatic testimony.

"One particularly compelling victim was an army sergeant who had been selected to attend officer candidate school and is now paralyzed for the rest of his life on his left side," he said. "He lost 20 percent of his brain and never was able to fulfill that dream because of this guy's depraved decision to kill as many people as he could."

In this courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Hasan, center, sits before the judge, U.S. Army Col. Tara Osborn, during the sentencing phase of his trial, Aug. 26, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.In this courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Hasan, center, sits before the judge, U.S. Army Col. Tara Osborn, during the sentencing phase of his trial, Aug. 26, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
x
In this courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Hasan, center, sits before the judge, U.S. Army Col. Tara Osborn, during the sentencing phase of his trial, Aug. 26, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
In this courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Hasan, center, sits before the judge, U.S. Army Col. Tara Osborn, during the sentencing phase of his trial, Aug. 26, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
Testimony in this punishment phase of the trial will continue Tuesday and then Hasan, who is representing himself, will have a chance to either call witnesses or make a statement to the jury. During the first phase of the trial, Hasan called no witnesses and rested his case without making any statement.

Corn says Hasan still has one option left.

"He can give what is called an unsworn statement, which means he is not under oath and he does not have to be subjected to cross examination. And he can give it in a narrative form. That is the most likely scenario because then he gets to say whatever he wants."

Corn says the jury, or panel as it is known in military law, will consider the law and the evidence when making its decision.

"The prosecution has clearly and unambiguously established how incredibly aggravated the nature of this crime was, and the law tells us that the maximum penalty under the law is death," he said. "The real question is does he deserve the maximum penalty authorized by law? And I think when they get to that question they are going to answer yes."

Nidal Malik Hasan is pictured in an undated police handout photograph.Nidal Malik Hasan is pictured in an undated police handout photograph.
x
Nidal Malik Hasan is pictured in an undated police handout photograph.
Nidal Malik Hasan is pictured in an undated police handout photograph.
Even if the jury votes for the death penalty, Hasan likely will live in prison for some years to come, as automatic appeals run their course.

There are five inmates on the U.S. military's death row. No military prisoner has been executed since 1961.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid