Fort Hood Trial Moves To Sentencing Phase

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) J.D. Miles
J.D. is an award-winning reporter who has been covering North T...
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FORT HOOD (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The man behind the worst mass murder ever on an American military base could learn soon whether or not he will be executed. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is back in court Monday morning along with prosecutors who want to see him put to death for the shooting rampage that took place on the post.

Hasan was convicted last week for the shooting rampage in 2009 that left 13 people dead and another 31 people injured.

The sentencing phase of his trial began Monday morning with the judge, once again, urging Hasan to reconsider his decision to represent himself during his court martial. “You understand you are staking your life on the decisions that you make?” asked Judge Tara Osborn.

Hasan replied, “I do.”

“I think it’s unwise to represent yourself,” said the judge.

The military panel that found Hasan guilty of premeditated murder will now decide if he should be executed or serve a life sentence.

Prosecutors plan to call more than a dozen witnesses in their effort to prove that Hasan deserves the death penalty for the massacre which was motivated by his desire to avoid deployment overseas with his unit and kill fellow Muslims. Among the witnesses expected to testify in the sentencing phase are family members of the victims.

Hasan has so far declined to offer a defense for his actions, but will get another opportunity to do so during the punishment phase which is expected to take several days.

Hasan also insisted that his health had not deteriorated, and that the only drugs he was taking were over-the-counter pain relievers. Hasan was paralyzed when a Fort Hood police officer shot him and ended the rampage. He now uses a wheelchair.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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