Less than five years after an Army psychiatrist went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, the military base has been shaken by another shooting.
Nidal Hasan, convicted in the Nov. 5, 2009, tragedy that left 13 dead and 31 wounded, was sentenced to death by a military jury in August 2013.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, saying Hasan’s murderous rampage at the sprawling military base was a tragic and devastating loss for victims and loved ones.
Hasan was convicted on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder. He appeared expressionless upon hearing the verdict, which came after less than two hours of deliberations.
While Hasan could be the first service member executed by the military since 1961, the appellate process could take years.
Family members of Hasan’s victims supported the sentence.
“Today a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders,” said Joleen Cahill, whose husband, Michael Cahill, had retired from the military and was working as a civilian employee at Fort Hood. He was killed when he tried to subdue Hasan. “The (jury) gave him justice, and I agree with that justice.”
In seeking capital punishment, lead prosecutor Col. Mike Mulligan earlier recounted each emotional and powerful story of victims whose lives were cut short.
“These murderous attacks left enormous carnage: 13 dead, eight widows. One widower. Twelve minor children without a father, 18 parents lost children. Thirty soldiers wounded. One civilian police officer. Their loss, each family — tragic, difficult and different. For some, death was almost instantaneous. So quick, so lethal they never moved from their chair,” Mulligan said.
Hasan, a Virginia-born Muslim who acted as his own attorney, admitted at the trial that he was responsible for the shootings. He had previously said he was a “soldier of Allah,” deserved martyrdom and that his attack was designed to protect Muslim insurgents abroad.
Mulligan said earlier that while Hasan’s acts were religiously motivated, jurors shouldn’t punish him for being a Muslim.
“History is replete with death in the name of religion. The acts of 5 November were religiously motivated. You should not punish him for his religion,” Mulligan told jurors. “You should punish him for his hate. You should punish him for the action he took in the name of his religion, not for his religion.”