Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan Gets Death Penalty

PHOTO: Nidal Hasan
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Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in a shooting rampage at Ft. Hood, was unanimously sentenced to death today by a jury of military officers.

A sentence of death was all but inevitable for Hasan, a Muslim American who represented himself during the court martial and whose own standby lawyers accused him of cooperating with the prosecution to hasten his "martyrdom."

"He is a criminal. He is a cold-blooded murderer," prosecutor Col. Mike Mulligan said today, according to the Associated Press. "This is not his gift to God. This is his debt to society. This is the cost of his murderous rampage."

Last week, Hasan was found guilty on all counts, including 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

In one of the few statements he made to the court, he described himself as a "mujahedeen," or Muslim holy warrior and never denied shooting unarmed soldiers and bystanders.

Following the 2009 attack, he attempted to plead guilty but the military insisted he go to trial in order to be eligible for the death penalty.

He never denied entering a medical building at the base on Nov. 5, 2009, and opening fire on soldiers preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. He yelled "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great" before training a pistol with a laser sight on his victims, 12 of whom were soldiers.

The military spent four years and $5 million to ensure Hasan would be convicted and be eligible for a death sentence.

Executions in the military are rare. All death sentences are subject to automatic appeal, a process that can take decades. There are currently five inmates on the military's death row, but an active serviceman has not been executed since 1961.

Over the course of the three week trial, the government called 89 witnesses, none of whom the major cross-examined. He called none of his own witnesses and immediately rested his case when he had the chance to defend himself.

Hasan was shot in the back when police officers responded. As a result, he is paralyzed and wheelchair bound.

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