The 2009 attack at the Texas military base killed 13 people and wounded 32 others.
Army Maj. Nidal Hasan has been found guilty of “premeditated murder” for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 dead and over 30 wounded. The conviction means that he is now eligible for the death penalty. However, death sentences are extremely rare in the military, the last one taking place in 1961. A military death sentence “triggers automatic appeals” which can take decades to play out. They also require authorization from the President before they are carried out.
Hasan told the court he opened fire on fellow soldiers to “protect Muslim insurgents abroad.”
According to the Associated Press:
The Army psychiatrist acknowledged carrying out the attack in a crowded waiting room where unarmed troops were making final preparations to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq … Because Hasan never denied his actions, the court-martial was always less about a conviction than it was about ensuring he received the death penalty. From the beginning of the case, the federal government has sought to execute Hasan, believing that any sentence short of a lethal injection would deprive the military and the families of the dead of the justice they have sought for nearly four years.
A jury of 13 high-ranking military officers reached a unanimous guilty verdict on all charges — 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder — in about seven hours. Hasan had no visible reaction as the verdict was read. After the jury and Hasan left the courtroom, some victims who survived the shooting and family members began to cry.
Hasan, a Virginia-born Muslim, said the attack was a jihad against U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He bristled when the trial judge, Col. Tara Osborn, suggested the shooting rampage could have been avoided were it not for a spontaneous flash of anger. “It wasn’t done under the heat of sudden passion,” Hasan said before jurors began deliberating. “There was adequate provocation — that these were deploying soldiers that were going to engage in an illegal war.”
The sentencing phase of the trial will begin on Monday, and all 13 jurors must agree unanimously to give Hasan the death penalty. If they are unable to agree, Hasan could spend the rest of his life in a military prison.