Fort Hood Shooter Gets the Death Penalty He Allegedly Sought

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sits in court for his court-martial Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, in Forth Hood, Texas. 
National Journal
Matt Berman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Matt Berman
Aug. 23, 2013, 10:22 a.m.

Maj. Nid­al Has­an was con­victed last Fri­day of pre­med­it­ated murder in the 2009 shoot­ing at the Fort Hood mil­it­ary base in Texas. The at­tack killed 13 people and in­jured more than 30. Has­an, an Army psy­chi­at­rist, said his goal was to help Muslim in­sur­gents over­seas.

The con­vic­tion made Has­an eli­gible for the death pen­alty, and pro­sec­utors pushed for it. On Wed­nes­day, a mil­it­ary jury sen­tenced him to death. He could be the first Amer­ic­an sol­dier to be ex­ecuted since 1961. But, based on the be­liefs of an at­tor­ney dur­ing the case, that sen­tence could give Has­an just what he wants.

Dur­ing the tri­al, Has­an chose to rep­res­ent him­self, but he had three standby mil­it­ary law­yers on hand for ad­vice if he re­ques­ted it. One of those de­fense at­tor­neys wor­ried earli­er this month that Has­an was “work­ing in con­cert with the pro­sec­u­tion in achiev­ing a death sen­tence.” That at­tor­ney, Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, told the judge in the case that it is “clear [Has­an’s] goal is to re­move im­ped­i­ments or obstacles to the death pen­alty and is work­ing to­wards a death pen­alty.”

Has­an took is­sue with the at­tor­ney’s in­ter­pret­a­tion of his de­fense, say­ing the at­tor­ney “made an as­ser­tion that is in­ac­cur­ate.”

In his self-de­fense, Has­san did not try, even a little, to present him­self as in­no­cent. In his open­ing state­ment, he said, “Evid­ence will clearly show that I am the shoot­er, and the dead bod­ies will show the war is an ugly thing.” The gov­ern­ment tried to make the case that Has­an “came to be­lieve he pos­sessed a ji­had duty to kill as many sol­diers as pos­sible.”

Wheth­er the death pen­alty is Has­an’s goal likely didn’t mat­ter in the sen­ten­cing, be­cause that is the pen­alty the pro­sec­u­tion was look­ing for. But it raises real ques­tions about how ser­i­ous a pun­ish­ment can be if it is what the crim­in­al is look­ing for. In court, the gov­ern­ment ar­gued that the death pen­alty is the only way to give the mil­it­ary and fam­il­ies of Has­an’s vic­tims justice and peace of mind. But if Has­an is look­ing to be­come a mar­tyr for his cause, it’s hard to see how giv­ing him that would help vic­tims and their fam­il­ies.

What We're Following See More »
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
4 days ago
THE LATEST
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
4 days ago
BREAKING
MANAFORT AND FLYNN
Russians Discussed Influencing Trump Through Aides
4 days ago
THE DETAILS

"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
6 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
BUSINESSES CAN’T PLEAD FIFTH
Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
6 days ago
THE LATEST

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login