Victims' Families Tell Panel About Life After Fort Hood as Sentencing Begins

Victims' Families Tell Panel About Life After Fort Hood as Sentencing Begins

On August 23, a panel found Maj. Nidal Hasan guilty on all premeditated murder and attempted murder charges for the November 5, 2009 attack on Fort Hood. Hasan murdered 13 people, including an unborn baby, and injured 31 others. The victims’ families took turns testifying against Hasan on Monday at his sentencing.

The verdict was unanimous and the death penalty is on the table.

Angela Rivera, whose husband was killed, told the jury she kept her husband Maj. Eduardo Caraveo’s cell phone active because she would call it and hear his voice in his voicemail greeting. One day, the carrier upgraded their systems, and all voicemail greetings were deleted. She can no longer hear his voice. She also told the jury she could not explain to their 2-year-old son what happened to his father.

Cindy Seager knew her husband, Capt. Russell Seager, for 30 years. She told the jury she had to learn to be independent and find things to do on her own since he was murdered by Hasan. It is still difficult for her to live without her husband.

Shoua Her broke down in tears on the stand when she told the jury she and her husband, Pfc. Kham Xiong, had wanted to have more children and grow old together:

“We had talked about how excited we were to purchase our first home. We talked about vacations and places we wanted to go visit. And all that was stripped away from me,” she said. “Our daughter will not have her dad to walk her down the aisle. My two sons will never have their dad to take them fishing or (teach them) sports or how to be a gentleman.

“I miss him a lot,” she added. “I miss his soft, gentle hands. How he holds me. He made me feel safe and secure. Now the other side of the bed is empty and cold. I feel dead but yet alive.”

Then came the testimony from Juan Velez. His daughter, 21-year-old Francheska Velez, was pregnant at the time of the shooting; both she and her baby boy died. Many witnesses said she cried out “My baby! My baby!” when Hasan shot her. Valez said the family is still struggling.

“That man did not just kill 13, he killed 15. He killed my grandson (Velez’ unborn child) and myself,” Velez said in Spanish. “It hurt me to the bottom of my soul.”

The prosecution still has seven witnesses to speak. Monday’s proceedings were stopped after a closed-door meeting between the judge, Hasan, and attorneys from both sides.