Fort Hood Nidal Hasan Shooter Convicted On All Charges
After deliberating for approximately one day, a jury of U.S. Army officers convicted Major Nidal Hasan Friday of all 13 charges of premeditated murder and all 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder for the November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas.
The convictions mean Hasan could face the death penalty by lethal injection. In order for him to be eligible for the death penalty, the jury needed to find he killed at least two people. At least one of those two had to be a unanimous premeditated murder conviction.
If Hasan is sentenced to the death penalty, his case would mark the first time the U.S. military has executed a service member since 1961. The same jury of 13 officers will hear the penalty phase of the court martial beginning Monday and then make a recommendation to the judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, who will decide Hasan's sentence.
Hasan, an army psychiatrist who acted as his own defense lawyer, is an American-born Muslim who admitted to killing 13 people and wounding 31 in his opening statement, stating he switched sides in what he considered to be a U.S. war on Islam. Hasan was also charged with attempted premeditated murder on a thirty-second person at whom he shot and missed.
After the opening statement in which Hasan said evidence would "clearly show" he was the shooter, the jury barely heard from the defendant, who rested his case Wednesday questioning only three of the nearly 90 witnesses. Hasan did not testify in his own defense. He also declined to make a closing argument Thursday.
Hasan sat emotionless as the judge announced a verdict had been reach, standing and looking at the juror panel president as the verdict was read, then turning and looking back down. A few family members of the victims cried and hugged each other at the announcement.
Hasan opened fire at an area where soldiers were being evaluated before being deployed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.