A U.S. military jury has sentenced an Army psychiatrist to death for intentionally killing 13 fellow soldiers in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.
The jury of 13 officers deliberated a short time Wednesday before handing Major Nidal Hasan, an American-born Muslim, the death sentence he appeared to crave during a two-week trial.
Hasan, who says he "switched sides" in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was convicted of the premeditated murder of soldiers being readied for deployment to the two warfronts. He says he carried out the attack to prevent them from attacking Muslim insurgents overseas.
The Army prosecutor in the case, Colonel Mike Mulligan, urged the jury to give Hasan the death sentence for the assault, in which he wounded more than 30 others.
Mulligan told the jury Hasan "is not now and never will be a martyr. He is a criminal. He is a cold-blooded murderer."
Hasan, representing himself, presented no defense and declined to testify himself. He acknowledged he was the shooter, and as the case neared completion, he told the jury, "I have no closing statement."
His legal advisers at one point in the trial said the 42-year-old Hasan was doing so little to contest the charges because they believed he wanted to be convicted of premeditated murder so he could be sentenced to death. The same jury that sentenced him convicted him of all 45 charges he faced after hearing witnesses describe how he methodically fired at soldiers in a medical center at Fort Hood.
Hasan's death sentence, which would be by lethal injection, triggers an automatic review that could take years and ultimately would have to be approved by the U.S. president before it could be carried out. As an alternative, the jury could have sent Hasan to prison for life.
Death sentences are rare in the U.S. military, with just five other prisoners on death row. The last American soldier executed was in 1961.