Fort Hood shooter rests case, punishment to be decided Wednesday

As was the case throughout his trial, convicted Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan had little to say Tuesday during the capital sentencing phase of his court-martial. In fact, the Army Medical Corps officer's three words to the jury, "The defense rests," produced an audible gasp in the courtroom.

The 13-member jury of U.S. Army officers that convicted Hasan last 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 will return Wednesday morning to make a recommendation to the judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, on whether or not Hasan should face the death penalty for his crimes. Osborn will then decide the defendant's sentence.

Because the jury found he killed at least two people, and at least one of those two was an unanimous premeditated murder conviction, Hasan could face the death penalty by lethal injection. If he is sentenced to the death penalty, his case would mark the first time the U.S. military has executed a servicemember since 1961.

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, saying he switched sides in what he considered to be a U.S. war on Islam.

Hasan called no witnesses during his trial, also choosing not to present any documentary evidence or explanation for why he should not die for his crimes. Judge Osborn reluctantly allowed Hasan's wishes, telling the defendant, "You're the captain of your own ship."

The last of the 19 victims and family members of those wounded or killed gave testimony Tuesday, detailing physical and emotional injuries from the rampage four years ago, and telling of lost loved ones.

"The shooting and his killing is not going to destroy my family," said Joleen Cahill, widow of Michael Cahill, the only civilian to die in the massacre. "He is not going to win," she said firmly, as Hasan sat just feet away.