Fort Hood shooter Hasan convicted over '09 murders, faces death penalty
By Phil Jankowski ,APFFORT HOOD, Texas -- A U.S. Army officer who killed 13 people in a rampage on a Texas military base was found guilty of premeditated murder Friday and now faces a possible death sentence.
August 25, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The verdict against 42-year-old Major Nidal Hasan was handed down by a U.S. military jury after a court martial at Fort Hood, the site of his 2009 shooting spree.
Hasan sat stoically looking as the foreman, a female colonel, read the verdict in the killings of 12 service members and a civilian, as well as the attempted murder of dozens more.
There were no outbursts of emotion from family members of the victims, but some cried and wiped away tears as they left the courtroom.
“So overwhelmed with joy and tears! ... God Bless the victims in their strength,” former police sergeant Kimberly Munley, who was wounded in the shooting, wrote on Twitter.
The trial had heard that Hasan, a Muslim, had been in contact with a leading al-Qaida figure and had attacked his comrades out of opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hasan, who was serving at the time as an Army psychiatrist, chose to defend himself during the hearings and openly declared that he had carried out the killings. The trial will now move into a sentencing phase.
His refusal to engage with the court — he called no witnesses and refused to make a closing statement — has fuelled suspicions that he is actively seeking the death penalty.
Hasan's attack raised fears that the United States could face a wave of so-called “lone wolf” killers, inspired by al-Qaida but not directly under the extremist group's control.
“I was defending my religion,” Hasan said in a letter to AFP, arguing that the United States was wrong to invade Muslim countries.
“It is one thing for the United States to say 'We don't want sharia law to govern us,' but it is not acceptable to have a foreign policy that tries to replace sharia law with a more secular form of government.”