A military jury has sentenced Fort Hood terrorist Maj. Nidal Hasan to death for the murder of thirteen people and the wounding of more than 30 others in 2009.
Hasan never tried to deny his guilt; in opening statements to the jury he even admitted being the person who pulled the trigger that caused so much destruction. What he did try to do was make the shooting about the crimes being perpetrated by the United States government and military in the Islamic world. Hasan said that he was acting to protect his religious brothers and sisters from the military aggression of our country.
At one point in the trial Hasan even leaked documents to the media that showed that if he got the death penalty, he believed he’d be dying a martyr’s death. Dying in such a manner, he believes, will give him the afterlife he hopes for.
The man prosecuting Hasan, however, begs to differ. “The lead prosecutor assured jurors that Hasan would “never be a martyr” despite his attempt to tie the attack to religion.” Col. Mike Mulligan, who was the lead prosecutor on the case, argued that executing Hasan would not be giving him a martyr’s death. “He is a criminal. He is a cold-blooded murderer… This is not his gift to God. This is his debt to society. This is the cost of his murderous rampage.”
For his part, Hasan seemed to have been angling for execution as he obviously believes that it is his best chance to die a martyr’s death – he made no attempt to defend his actions and showed no concern when the verdict was read.
The military does not often sentence soldiers to death. If Hasan is executed it will be the first time the punishment has been carried out in more than 50 years (the last execution was in 1961). However, it will still be quite a while before the military gets around to the execution. There is a long appeals process that could ensure Hasan many years imprisonment at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
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