Maj. Nidal Hasan was found guilty on Friday of 13 counts of premeditated murder. The defendant, serving as his own attorney, had previously admitted to killing 13 victims at Fort Hood Army base in Texas.
According to Army Col. Steve Henricks, one of the prosecutors, Hasan had made Fort Hood his “personal kill zone” on the day of the shooting.
Hasan was convicted by a panel of 13 high-ranking military officers, who unanimously voted to find him guilty. Along with the murder charges, Hasan was convicted of 32 counts of attempted murder.
The panel convened for just seven hours before returning with the guilty verdict. The convict showed no emotional response as the decision was announced.
Hasan is now eligible for death penalty. If he is executed, he will be the first person to receive this punishment from the U.S. military in more than 50 years.
During the sentencing phase, which is the next portion of the trial, prosecutors are slated to call on 16 witnesses. By the end of sentencing, Hasan will either receive a punishment of life in prison or lethal injection.
Hasan was an Army psychiatrist before the attack and turned on his fellow soldiers in 2009 in the name of jihad. He claimed to have switched sides in the “war against Islam.”
At the trial, 90 witnesses spoke on behalf of the military prosecution. Prosecutors showed how Hasan had researched high-tech firearms and trained at a shooting range before the slaughter, demonstrating premeditation.
Although Hasan represented himself, at the trial he was appointed a backup legal tem to help him file motions and instruct him on the legal process.
After Hasan declared, “I am the shooter” in his opening statement, however, the attorneys filed a motion to step down, claiming that Hasan hoped for death — a wish not uncommon for jihadists seeking martyrdom.
Aside from the murders, Hasan injured 31 people during the attack. He shot at a 32nd victim but missed.
Hasan himself was paralyzed at the scene of the crime after being struck by a police bullet.