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US Military Jury Deliberating Fate of Army Psychiatrist in Fort Hood Shooting Rampage

A U.S. military jury has started deliberations in the murder trial of an Army psychiatrist who has admitted killing 13 soldiers and wounding more than 30 others in a 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.

The jury of 13 officers started consideration of the case against Major Nidal Hasan on Thursday after hearing about 90 witnesses testify over the last two weeks that he methodically fired at soldiers as they were being processed for deployment to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A military prosecutor, Colonel Steve Hendricks, said in his closing argument that Hasan decided to make a Fort Hood medical facility his "personal kill zone" during the shooting spree. Hendricks said Hasan "without a doubt -- without any doubt at all -- had a premeditated design to kill."

Hasan, acting as his own defense attorney, passed up a chance to make an end-of-trial statement to the jury deciding his fate. He presented no witnesses on his behalf during the trial and declined to testify himself.

In a brief opening statement at the trial, Hasan, an American-born Muslim, said the evidence at the trial would "clearly show" that he was the shooter. Hasan said he was a soldier who had "switched sides."

During a hearing Wednesday about jury instructions, Hasan told the judge presiding over the case that his attack was motivated by what he considered "an illegal war" and that he had "adequate provocation" because the soldiers he shot were headed overseas to fight Muslim insurgents.

Hasan could face the death penalty if all 13 jurors convict him of premeditated murder.

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