This courtroom sketch shows prosecutor Colonel Steve Henricks speaking to jurors on the opening day of the trial of Major Nidal Hasan. Photo: Brigitte Woosley /Reuters
Major Nidal Hasan has been found guilty on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of premeditated attempted murder, by unanimous vote of a military jury, according to NBC News:
Under military law, Maj. Hasan’s conviction on at least two counts of premeditated murder makes him eligible for the death penalty.
In order for Hasan to face the death penalty, the jury’s 11 men and two women had to find him unanimously guilty of at least one count of premeditated murder as well as another murder charge. The military court system hasn’t executed an active-duty U.S. soldier since 1961.
The punishment phase of the court-martial hearing begins Monday at Fort Hood. Sixteen witnesses are expected to testify, including one family member from each of the 13 people Hasan killed on November 5, 2009. Hasan will also be allowed to speak – unrestricted – during the next phase of the trial.
Oh, I can hardly wait to hear him speak unrestricted for a while.
Attorneys for the Ft. Hood victims said the verdict was “only a first, small step down the path of justice for the victims.” They called on the Departments of Defense and Justice to “stop their cynical ‘workplace violence’ charade – a charade carried on despite Hasan’s confessions and the mountain of evidence demonstrating that the attack was the work of an Islamic jihadist, working on behalf of al-Qaeda, who killed Americans for his ‘brothers’ in the Middle East – and to stop denying the Fort Hood victims the Purple Hearts and medical and other benefits to which they are rightfully due.”
No one has less patience for that charade than Nidal Hasan, who kicked off his trial by admitting his guilt, describing himself as a traitor, and declaring his goal was to protect Islamist terrorists from American soldiers. Then he declined to offer a defense or make a closing argument.
[Prosecutor Col. Steve] Henricks described how, when Hasan learned he would be part of a unit deploying to Afghanistan, he visited Guns Galore, a firearms store in Killeen, adjacent to Fort Hood about 70 miles north Austin. Hasan asked for advice and bought the most high tech, highest-capacity pistol available.
Hasan later trained at an off-base gun range and used laser sights. He eventually carefully targeted a medical building he knew would be crammed with soldiers preparing for or returned from overseas military deployments — mostly in Afghanistan or Iraq — the same day his unit would be at the building.
Henricks reminded jurors that before Hasan started shooting, Hasan cried “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!”
The prosecutor added: “So no one should be confused about his motives that day and no one should be confused today either.”
No, no one should be. But as a matter of official policy, the government insists on confusion.