WASHINGTON, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – A United States military jury sentenced an Army psychiatrist to death Wednesday for the 2009 shooting rampage at the Fort Hood military base in Texas that left 13 people dead and more than 30 wounded, US media reported.
The same military jury that convicted Maj. Nidal Hasan last week had only two options, a death sentence or life in prison with no chance of parole.
Hasan, 42, admitted that he was the gunman who opened fire on Nov. 5, 2009 in a crowded waiting room at a medical processing center filled with troops there to get final medical checkups before deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Witnesses in the case said that Hasan yelled “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic, before he started shooting.
He represented himself and did not call a single witness to testify and questioned just three of the nearly 90 witnesses that prosecutors called to the stand, according to media reports.
Hasan, a US-born Muslim, indicated in media leaks and statements to the judge in the case that he believed the attack was justified in order to protect Muslim and Taliban leaders from US forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Prosecutors said Hasan perpetrated the attack because he didn’t want to be sent to Afghanistan and that he believed he had a jihad duty to kill as many soldiers as possible.
In his final plea arguing for a death sentence, lead prosecutor Col. Mike Mulligan told the jury Wednesday that Hasan would “never be a martyr,” The Associated Press reported.
“This is not a gift to God. This is his debt to society. This is the cost of his murderous rampage,” Mulligan said.
Hasan’s rampage ended after he was shot in the back by an officer responding to the shooting, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Hasan could become the first American soldier in 52 years to be executed, a punishment which requires final approval by the president of the United States.