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Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sentenced to death for Ft. Hood shooting

FT. HOOD, Texas -- A military jury has sentenced Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to death in connection with the mass shooting at this central Texas Army post four years ago that killed 13 and wounded more than 30.

Hasan, 42, an Army psychiatrist, was convicted last week of 13 counts of premeditated murder and lesser charges in connection with the attack on Nov. 5, 2009.

On Wednesday, the same jury of 13 officers, all Hasan’s rank or higher, deliberated about two hours before sentencing him to die. The jury president, a colonel and the highest-ranking juror, announced the sentence.

Hasan watched closely as the jury president read the sentence shortly before 2 p.m. CDT.

Hasan’s long-delayed court martial proved shorter than expected, with less than a month of testimony. Hasan, who took the unusual step of representing himself in the capital case, did not testify or call witnesses, rarely cross examined more than a hundred prosecution witnesses and presented little evidence compared to more than 700 exhibits submitted by the prosecution.

At sentencing, he declined to make a statement or closing argument and persuaded the judge to rule against his military legal advisors, who wanted to submit sympathetic evidence on his behalf.

Prosecutors argued Hasan, an American-born Muslim, was driven by radical religious beliefs to plan the shooting on the eve of his deployment to Afghanistan.

Hasan admitted to the shooting at trial, said that he grew disillusioned with the military and became a Muslim guerrilla fighter.

The jury’s vote for death was unanimous. The sentence must now be approved by the general at Ft. Hood who convened the court martial.

Hasan will join five other inmates on military death row at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. His sentence will automatically be appealed to higher courts.

Due in part to the lengthy appeals process, no military death row inmate has been executed since 1961.

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