Military Panel Sentences Hasan to Death for Fort Hood Attack

Military Panel Sentences Hasan to Death for Fort Hood Attack

A U.S. military panel sentenced Major Nidal Hasan to death after only two hours of deliberation. It was a unanimous decision. 

Hasan was found guilty on all charges of murder and attempted murder in his trial for the shooting of 13 people, including an unborn child, on November 5, 2009 at the Fort Hood military base. Over 30 people were injured.

The prosecution rested on Wednesday after two weeks of presenting evidence. They suffered a slight setback earlier in the case when Judge Col. Tara Osborn threw out evidence that would prove Hasan’s motive, which matched Hasan’s defense and showed he believed he had a “jihad duty” to murder his fellow soldiers. Despite the setback, the prosecution called over 80 witnesses and presented hundreds of pieces of evidence. They gave their closing arguments last Thursday.

Hasan represented himself, but Osborn threw out his original defense. Hasan wanted to tell the jury he murdered the soldiers to prevent them from murdering al-Qaeda and Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan. Hasan remained quiet when the prosecution presented their case over the past two weeks. He only spoke up to challenge the definition of jihad and cross-examine Staff Sgt. Juan Alvarado. Hasan declined to give a closing argument.

The panel listened to survivors and victims’ families talk about their lives after the attack on Monday and Tuesday. The father of Francheska Valez, who was pregnant at the time, said Hasan killed him as well as his daughter and grandson. Hasan did not present any witnesses on his behalf and did not speak. He only said, “The defense rests.”

The families of the victims and survivors have sued the federal government and Pentagon officials because they believe the attack could have been prevented. They did not approve of Osborn dismissing evidence, which included emails between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki. The New York Times received two emails from Hasan, sent prior to the attack, and provided more evidence the Army could have prevented the attack; Mother Jones also revealed evidence suggesting the FBI knew the risk Hasan presented. One victim challenged President Obama to call Fort Hood a terrorist attack.

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