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.
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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

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