Hasan Declines To Make Closing Argument; Deliberations Begin
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FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — A panel of 13 military officers are deliberating the fate of Army Major Nidal Hasan.
Closing arguments wrapped up with prosecutor Colonel Steven Henricks saying Hasan “had a premeditated design to kill.”
The defendant Hasan once again showed his refusal to challenge the government’s case by telling the judge “The defense chooses not to make a closing statement.”
The court martial panel, which is similar to a jury in civilian courts, must deliver a unanimous verdict to find Hasan guilty of premeditated capital murder, which could result in the death penalty.
For the lesser offense, panel members only have to reach a two-thirds majority.
Not guilty is unlikely since Hasan admitted to the shooting spree during his opening statement.
Prosecutors summarized two weeks of testimony and 89 witnesses during closing arguments.
“There is no doubt,” said Col. Henricks. “The facts that I laid out to you give you only one option.”
Those facts include a gun owned by Hasan and forensically traced to the 146 shell casings found in the building where 13 soldiers died and 31 were wounded.
“Absolute positive match, ” said Henricks.
The government must prove premeditation to convict Hasan of the most serious charge.
They argued his interest in acquiring high tech weapons from a Killeen gun store and taking shooting lessons suggest that.
“Using a weapon with laser sights on it, establishes an intent to kill,” said Col. Henricks.
The panel was also reminded of witnesses who testified that Hasan showed signs of planning and preparation for the crime by giving away his possessions to neighbors, acting erratically at a mosque on the day of the massacre, and using high powered ammunition.
“It was not a combat load he took with him that day, it was a kill load because he knew what he was going to do,” said Col. Henricks. “He yells out ‘Allahu Ahkbar’. He yelled it because he knew what he was about to do”
But perhaps the most graphic evidence of premeditation came from a video of the crime scene prosecutors once again showed the panel, a crowded deployment center where Hasan’s unit and hundreds of other soldiers were crammed into while processing paperwork before deployment to Afghanistan.
“He realizes he can turn that into the perfect killing station,” said Col. Henricks.
Henricks said Hasan shot wounded soldiers while they were on the ground and shot one 12 times who came after him with a chair.
A pregnant soldier was also shot in the back.
“He’s kept his wits about him,” “looking for more soldiers to kill,” said Henricks.
The prosecution argued that Hasan’s computer contained evidence of websites linked to Islamic extremism.
“He did not want to deploy and he came to believe he had a jihad duty,” said Henricks.
Before deliberations, the panel also watched dash-cam video from a police car that captured the gunfight that ended when Hasan was shot and paralyzed.
“The killing was stopped only because Major Hasan was stopped,” said Henricks.
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