Fort Hood gunman Maj Nidal Hasan guilty on all counts

  • Published
Media caption,

Alastair Leithead reports on the trial in which Hasan provided "no defence at all"

The US Army psychiatrist who shot dead 13 comrades at a Texas Army base in 2009 has been convicted of all charges.

Maj Nidal Hasan faces the death penalty after being found guilty of 13 counts of pre-meditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

Maj Hasan, 42, said he opened fire on the unarmed US soldiers to protect Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The jury, which reached a unanimous verdict in seven hours, begins the penalty phase of the trial on Monday.

The 13-member panel must come to a unanimous agreement in order to recommend that the judge sentence Maj Hasan to death. If they do not agree, he will face a life prison sentence.

Blocked argument

Media caption,

Fort Hood victim Sgt Alonzo Lunsford says "let the sword of justice swing"

The US military has not executed a service member since 1961. There are five inmates on the US military's death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, all at various stages of the appeals process.

Among the last barriers to military execution is authorisation from the president.

Maj Hasan, a Virginia-born Muslim, had no visible reaction as the verdict was read.

After the hearing, relatives of the dead and wounded fought back tears.

He admitted to being the gunman at the start of his court martial this month. Acting as his own lawyer, he questioned only three of 90 prosecution witnesses and declined to call witnesses of his own or make closing arguments.

His court-appointed legal advisers, who were little involved in his defence, have told the judge they believed he sought execution in a bid for martyrdom.

Maj Hasan has said he carried out the attack on unarmed soldiers at a medical building in Fort Hood in order to protect Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

146 bullets

Image caption,
Retired Staff Sgt Shawn Manning was among the many witnesses to the attack called by the prosecution

When the military judge, Col Tara Osborn, suggested shortly before jurors began deliberating on Thursday that the shootings happened because Maj Hasan had lost his temper, he challenged her.

"It wasn't done under the heat of sudden passion," he said.

"There was adequate provocation that these were deploying soldiers that were going to engage in an illegal war."

The Army psychiatrist opened fire on 5 November 2009 at a medical facility on the base where soldiers were being evaluated before deploying overseas.

Prosecutors said he had prepared carefully for the attack for weeks, visiting a target practice range, buying a gun, and stuffing paper towels into his trouser pockets to muffle noise from the extra ammunition before he opened fire.

Soldiers and civilians testified that they heard a man wearing Army camouflage scream an Islamic benediction before opening fire with two handguns.

Witnesses also said Maj Hasan's rapid reloading prevented the unarmed soldiers from halting the attack. Three separate people who attempted to charge him were stopped by gunfire.

Maj Hasan fired 146 bullets, prosecutors said. The attack ended when he was shot by a civilian police officer. He was paralysed from the waist down from the wound.

He uses a wheelchair after being left paralysed from the waist down when he was shot by one of the police officers who responded to the attack.