Former Army psychiatrist Nida Hasan will face a military trial on charges concerning the deadly shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009. He could face the death penalty if convicted, the Army announced on Wednesday.
Lt. Gen Donald M. Campbell, commander of the Army’s III Corps and Fort Hood made the decision to allow Hasan to face the death penalty if found guilty, according to Politico. The following steps will be for the court to appoint a judge and set a trial date.
Most family members of the victims were relieved to hear the decision, citing that it would bring closure to an emotional two years, although Leila Hunt Willingham, whose brother was killed, Told the Washington Post that the case’s outcome “won’t bring her any more peace than what she could get on her own – and it won’t bring back her brother.”
The Army Times reported that Hasan’s attorney, John Galligan, had argued the decision to allow the death penalty, saying the Army should stop short of pursuing capital punishment. His reasoning is that such cases take longer to prosecute and are more expensive. It is not clear yet whether Galligan will pursue the insanity defense for his client.
The shooting rampage was one of the worst massacres on a U.S. military base in history. Thirteen people were killed and 30 were wounded. Before allegedly turning the gun on his fellow soldiers, Hasan reportedly yelled, “Allahu akabar” which is Arabic for “God is Great!” Hasan has also been linked to the terrorist suspect Anwar al-Awlaki and has allegedly corresponded with him via e-mail.
A civilian police officer ended the rampage by shooting Hasan, which left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Maj. Hasan, 40, faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder for the shooting spree at the Texas army post.