Fort Hood murderer Nidal Hasan’s trial begins on August 6th, 2013. The death penalty is an option in this case. Twelve members of the U.S. military from across the country will sit in judgement of him on a military panel (the equivalent of a jury). Each panel member must outrank the defendant. Hasan is a U.S. Army Major. The rules in a military death penalty case differ from non-death penalty cases. A two-thirds vote for guilty is needed for conviction of a prison sentence – a unanimous vote needed for a death sentence. Without a two-thirds vote, the defendant is acquitted, and it all happens on the first secret vote. The judge is Colonel Tara Osborn. Once the court rejects all appeals, the President of the United States must approve the execution. This is the first post of a series to follow throughout the trial. Access to the full database can be found under my banner under the tab “Ft. Hood Jihad.”
The verdict must be unanimous for guilt for the death penalty to remain an option. If two-thirds vote for guilt, Maj. Hasan is guilty but will not face the death penalty. If they fail to reach a two-thirds majority on the first vote, Maj. Hasan will be acquitted. Unlike a civilian jury, the members vote in secret and will not continue to revote in order to reach a unanimous verdict. The panel in a court-martial is allowed to ask questions of any witness, as is the judge. Source: Dallas Morning News
On death row now, and/or awaiting final appeal:
Hasan Karim Akbar - (38) Akbar was born in the U.S. as Mark Fidel Kools. His father had a prison cell conversion to Islam while jailed for gang-related crimes. Hasan’s mother also converted to Islam. They raised their son as a Muslim. Hasan threw four M67 grenades into three tents of sleeping soldiers from his own brigade in Iraq (or perhaps Kuwait). Two were killed. Akbar fatally shot an Army Captain (27) in the back. An Air Force Major (40) died of shrapnel wounds. Has was also convicted of the attempted murder of 16 in the same attack. Akbar’s case was upheld by the Army Court of Appeals in July 2012 and is now pending before the U.S. Military Court of Appeal for the U.S. Armed Forces. On death row since 2005.
Ronald Adrin Gray (47) – convicted of murdering 4, with 8 counts of rape. I believe it is accurate to say that his appeals process has been exhausted and he remains on death row. President George W. Bush signed the execution order for Gray in On death row since 1988.
Dwight J. Loving – Convicted of murdering two. One of the dead was a an active duty soldier. Loving shot him in the back of the head. The second person murdered was a retired Army sergeant. His case is awaiting appeal to the U.S. Military Court of Appeal for the U.S. Armed Forces. On death row since December 1988.
Timothy B. Hennis – convicted in two civilian courts, exonerated and convicted again in Military court, of the murder of three with DNA evidence. His case is awaiting appeal to the U.S. Military Court of Appeal for the U.S. Armed Forces. On death row since 2010.
Andrew P. Witt – (31) U.S. Air Force convicted of killing two and attempted murder of one in 2004. It is unclear whether he is awaiting appeal. On death row since 2005.
John Arthur Bennett – (26) in 1961, the only member of the military to be executed for a crime committed in peacetime. Bennett was convicted of the rape and attempted murder of an 11-year-old Austrian girl.
Nidal Malik Hasan (42) killed 14, one an unborn baby – a death he is not charged with. The charge is pre-meditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in an event classified as “workplace violence,” not terrorism.
Nidal Malik Hasan is acting as his own attorney but has counsel. If his behavior does not please the court, the judge can order that his defense counsel to take over his case.
Hasan’s case has taken longer to reach the court room than any other Military trial. He was injured as he murdered, is now paralyzed and in a wheelchair. The case was also delayed when he grew a beard (against U.S. Military rules) and the judge let him dally along with it, until he was finally forced to shave or was forcibly shaven. UPDATE: 8-3-13 He still has the beard and it’s still against Military regs. It’s a bizarre story. More on that to come. He still receives his Military pay.
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