Good morning from Fort Hood! Today is day 17 and possibly the final day of Maj. Nidal Hasan's capital murder court-martial.
Hasan shocked observers Tuesday when he entered no evidence and made no statements explaining why he carried out the Nov. 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead. In our coverage, former staff judge advocate here at Fort Hood Richard Rosen called Hasan's action "unprecedented."
Rosen, a Texas Tech law professor, is right for several reasons. The trial is unique on its own for being a rare military death penalty case. It's rarity grew when Hasan opted to represent himself, and now has grown into a singular case with the 42-year-old Army psychiatrist refusing to enter any testimony or evidence on his behalf during sentencing.
Today, the jury will likely have Hasan's faith put into their hands. While their decision is far less clear-cut (Hasan's guilt was basically never in question during the first phase of trial), whether he deserves the death penalty is another matter. Regardless, every officer appointed to the 13-member jury told the court they would be able to adjudge a death sentence in the right circumstances.
The jury took about seven hours to find Hasan guilty. But when deliberations begin, they will only have one issue before them: the question of whether Hasan deserves life in prison or should be sent to the death chamber.
I should be in the court room today to gauge reactions. My colleague Rose Thayer will be in the auxiliary courtroom able to post up-to-the-minute updates. Follow me on Twitter @KDHcrime for updates.
Eighty-eight journalist are here. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Stars and Stripes, CNN, Fox News, the Associated Press (five reporters from them alone!), CBS national, Al Jazeera America, Reuter's, the Austin American-Statesman, the San Antonio Express-News, regional television networks and local TV are all here. I think the Fort Hood Sentinel will be here as well.
Mother Jones rehashes the Webster report, which details how the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force missed or ignored signs of Hasan's radicalization.
NBC News notes the military has not executed any solder in more than 50 years.