FORT HOOD, Texas — Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was convicted today for the deadly 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, a shocking assault against American troops at home by one of their own who said he opened fire on fellow soldiers to protect Muslim insurgents abroad.
A jury of 13 high-ranking military officers reached a unanimous guilty verdict on all 13 counts of premeditated murder and a guilty verdict on 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. Hasan is now eligible for the death penalty.
Hasan stared at the jury with no visible reaction as the verdict was read. After he and jurors left the courtroom, some victims who survived the attack and victims’ relatives began to cry.
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. Thirteen people were killed and more than were 30 wounded.
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.
Jurors took about seven hours to reach the verdict.
In the next phase of the trial, which begins Monday, jurors must all agree to give Hasan the death penalty before he can be sent to the military’s death row, which has just five other prisoners. If they do not agree, the 42-year-old could spend the rest of his life in prison.