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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive 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, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid