Thirteen senior Army officers have sentenced Maj. Nidal Hasan to death for carrying out the horrific 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood Army base.
The panel’s recommendation will now go to a convening authority, the general responsible for assembling the capital court-martial, for review and approval. The convening authority can approve or reduce the sentence.
On Friday, Hasan was unanimously convicted on 13 charges of premeditated murder and convicted of 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder. His conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison and the panel was authorized to consider the death penalty.
This is no surprise. I think it is probably what Hassan wants, as well, although here’s what the prosecution had to say about that:
The government argued against the idea that a death sentence would result in martyrdom for Hasan. “He will never be a martyr because he has nothing to give. Do not be misled. Do not be fooled. He is not giving his life. We are taking his life. This is not his gift to God; this is his debt to society. This is not a charitable act. He is not now and never will be a martyr. He is a cold-blooded murderer,” argued prosecutor Col. Michael Mulligan.
It will take quite a bit of time to go through the appeals (no military executions have taken place since 1961, despite 16 military death penalty convictions since 1984), and I make no predictions as to whether the sentence will hold. But if it is overturned, it will probably be because Hassan had inadequate counsel: himself.