The Fort Hood case is now in the jury’s hands. Maj. Nidal Hasan is on trial for 13 murders at the military base on November 5, 2009.
Hasan, representing himself, did not present a defense after the prosecution rested on Wednesday. Prosecutor Col. Steve Henricks gave his closing arguments Thursday and reminded the jury Hasan premeditated the attack and urged them to reach a unanimous verdict.
Hasan declined to give a closing argument.
Earlier, Judge Col. Tara Osborn threw out critical evidence from the prosecution that would have proved his motive. Before that, the prosecution called 89 witnesses and provided hundreds of pieces of evidence. Hasan, without the jury present, told Osborn he opened fire on the soldiers to save the Taliban in Afghanistan — an attempted plea of defense of others — but she threw out the defense. After the jury reaches a verdict they will enter the sentencing phase, which is where Hasan may present his desired defense. From USA Today:
Hasan, 42, has admitted to being the gunman in the shooting. More so than guilt, a central question in the four-year-old case has been whether Hasan gets the death penalty or life in prison, said Geoffrey Corn, a former Army judge advocate who teaches military and national security law at South Texas College of Law in Houston. Hasan has been passive through the guilt phase of the trial in order to reach the sentencing phase, where he would have more leeway in voicing his opinions and could talk about what motivated him to turn his gun on fellow soldiers, he said.
“He really believes what he did was right,” Corn said. “But he’s not allowed to talk about that in the guilt phase. He only gets to talk about that in the sentencing phase.”