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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid