Published On: Aug 05 2013 01:21:44 PM CDTUpdated On: Aug 27 2013 05:57:24 AM CDT
A military jury has recommended the death penalty for Nidal Hasan, convicted for the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead and 32 others wounded. Review some of the key moments and revelations in the case, according to information from CNN.
On Nov. 5, 2009, a gunman opened fire at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, killing 13 and wounding 32. The shooting took place at a processing center on the base at where soldiers were preparing for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. The gunman was stopped by two civilian officers who shot and wounded the gunman.
Authorities later identified the gunman as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who was scheduled for his first deployment to Iraq later that year. Hasan, who was 39 at the time, was an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent, graduated from Virginia Tech, worked at the Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood and was previously stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Hasan was left paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries he received during the shooting.
In the days following the shooting, family members described Hasan as a calm man who felt disrespected in the Army due to his religion and did not want to be deployed. A Muslim chaplain at National Naval Medical Center who knew Hasan in Maryland said Hasan appeared to be a loyal American and once told him he joined the military to do something for his country after Sept. 11
Classmates and fellow doctors, though, painted a different picture. Classmates described Hasan as a militant man who included information about militant Islamism in class presentations and was very vocally opposed to the war on terrorism. Several also described his work as sub-par and questioned whether he had the intellect to become a mental health professional.
Hasan's neighbors said he cleaned out his apartment and handed out copies of the Quran the morning of the shooting. One neighbor said he gave her his furniture and paid her $60 to clean his apartment, but she didn't think much of it because he was leaving for Iraq.
The year before the shooting, counterterrorism investigators found an email correspondence between Hasan and radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, but the content did not concern investigators and no investigation was opened.
Hasan was charged with 13 counts of premediatated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in November and December 2009, respectively. He will face a military court martial and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The case has been delayed several times, primarily due to a dispute over Hasan's beard. On June 8, 2012, military judge Col. Gregory Gross rescheduled the hearing after Hasan showed up in court with a beard, which is in violation of military regulation. Hasan maintained that he has the right to wear the beard under federal law protecting religious rights. An appeals court ruled Hasan could be forcibly shaved, a decision that Hasan appealed.
Gross was removed from the case on Dec. 3, 2012, after a military appeals court found he was biased. The court said Gross had let the proceedings and fight ove the beard become a "duel of wills" between himself and Hasan. Removing Gross invalidated his order to have Hasan shaved, and new judge Col. Tara Osborn has not given a similar order.
Osborn ended up entering a not guilty plea for Hasan. She ruled he could not use a defense that he acted to protect the Taliban in Afghanistan during the shooting at Fort Hood, saying there was not evidence to support that claim.
On June 3, 2013, Osborn ruled Hasan was physically fit to represent himself during his court martial. If he ultimately does represent himself, that means Hasan could end up questioning victims who appear in court as witnesses. Hasan previously fired civilian lawyer John Galligan in the early stages of the case and was represented by Lt. Col. Kris Poppe until requesting to represent himself.
The jury for the case was selected in July. The court martial panel is comprised of 13 senior Army officers, including nine colonels, three lieutenant colonels and one major. Two members of the panel are women, and the highest-ranking officer is a female colonel who will therefore lead the group.
The week before the start of the trial, Osborn ruled prosecutors may use as evidence Hasan's Internet searches on jihad and the Taliban in the days and hours before the attack. Additionally, Hasan told Osborn he planned to call two witnesses.
Hasan's court martial began on Aug. 6, 2013. During his opening statement, Hasan announced he was the shooter. "The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter. The evidence presented with this trial will show one side. The evidence will also show that I was on the wrong side. I then switched sides," he said. "We mujahedeen are trying to establish the perfect religion...I apologize for the mistakes I made in this endeavor."
On the second day of the trial, defense attorneys, who the judge is requiring to act as standby counsel as Hasan defends himself, requested that they either be allowed to resume control of Hasan's defense or drop out of the case. They told the judge they believed Hasan was trying to help the prosecution achieve a death sentence. Osborn ruled Thursday that they must continue.
By the third day of testimony, the prosecution had put half of its expected 80 witnesses on the stand, many of them eyewitnesses to the attack. Hasan declined to cross-examine any of the witnesses. Hasan also eventually rested his case without calling a single witness or taking the stand to testify on his own behalf.
After 12 days of testimony, closing arguments took place on Aug. 22. The military jury took a day to deliberate before convicting Hasan the following day on all 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. A military jury on Aug. 28 recommended the death penalty for Hasan.