News / USA

Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan Convicted

Soldiers stand guard on the driveway leading to the courthouse holding the the court martial of  Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan in Fort Hood, Texas, August 23, 2013.
Soldiers stand guard on the driveway leading to the courthouse holding the the court martial of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan in Fort Hood, Texas, August 23, 2013.
Greg Flakus
The jury in the Fort Hood, Texas mass murder trial has convicted U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan of murdering 13 people and wounding 32 others in a shooting on the base in November, 2009. Next week the same jury - or panel, as it is known in military law - will determine if the death penalty should be imposed.

Observers in the courtroom say Major Nidal Hasan showed no visible reaction to the verdict, but some wounded victims and family members of victims wept.

The 42-year-old Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who was born in the eastern state of Virginia and raised Muslim, insisted on defending himself during the trial, but participated only minimally.  He called no witnesses and declined to give a closing statement.  He admitted to shooting soldiers preparing for deployment to what he called “illegal wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Having been convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder, Hasan now faces either the death penalty or life in prison. That will be determined when the court convenes next week for the punishment phase of the trial, according to

Jeffrey Addicott, a military law expert at the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University in San Antonio.

"The judge will start this on Monday and it is up to the defense to offer extenuation and mitigation evidence. That could range from an unsworn statement, where the defendant could not be cross examined, or it could be a sworn statement or it could be any other individual the defense wants to call to talk about why he should not receive the most severe punishment," said Addicott.

Based on Hasan's behavior so far, Addicott says he may choose to say nothing at all, but if he should choose to make a sworn statement or present a witness, the prosecution would also have its say.

"If the defense opens that door, then the prosecution can provide evidence to rebut the extenuation and mitigation evidence provided by the defense, showing that he does deserve to die.  These would be the impact on the victims' families and those types of statements," he said.

Addicott says the guilty verdict will provide some sense of closure for victim families and the more than 30 people wounded in the attack.

But given the fact that many have struggled with medical bills, rehabilitation costs and loss of income, Addicott believes they need something more.

"I think they have been consoled now that he has been found guilty on all counts.  I think the next good thing that could be done by the Obama administration is to recognize that these soldiers that were murdered died in combat and, therefore, they deserve all the benefits that are associated with combat veterans," said Addicott.

Some of the victims and family members have filed a lawsuit demanding combat benefits, but the U.S. government has taken the position that the Fort Hood shooting was not an attack by an enemy force, but the act of a lone gunman, acting on his own.  Addicott says, however, that the government should reconsider now that the trial jury has convicted Hasan, based on evidence that he was inspired by radical Islamists who promote violent jihad.

If all goes as expected, the jury will likely return the punishment verdict by the middle of next week.  If the death penalty is applied, Hasan would be transferred to a military prison in Kansas to await execution.  But automatic appeals in death penalty cases usually take at least a few years, and no U.S. soldier has been executed since 1961.  There are currently five men on the U.S. military's death row.

You May Like

Ferguson Grand Jury Expected to Reconvene

It remains unclear whether jurors will reach a decision by midweek Thanksgiving holiday on whether to indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid