Good morning from the Great Place! It is day 14 in the trial of accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan.
A panel of 13 officers will resume deliberations today when court reconvenes at 9 a.m. Though nothing is set in stone, most of us here are expecting a verdict today.
The jury deliberated for more than three hours Thursday before asking to hear the stipulated testimony of former Fort Hood police Sgt. Mark Todd, who could not testify in person because of an unspecified health condition. They then requested a recess. Full coverage of Thursday's hearing, which including a closing argument from prosecutor Col. Steve Henricks, instructions on evidence and a lengthy charge sheet, is available here. Hasan opted to not make any argument, confining his argument to eight words, "The defense chooses not to make a closing statement."
Reaching a verdict and adjudging a death sentence is a very technical process. I will try to explain it here.
In order to get the death penalty, the jury must unanimously find Hasan guilty of at least one capital charge (premeditated murder) along with at least one more murder charge of any level. Only a two-thirds majority is required to find Hasan guilty of any charge. In this case, that means at least nine of 13 jurors must vote he is guilty. However, if the verdict is not unanimous, then death penalty is off the table.
Then begins the sentencing phase. The jury unanimously vote three times in favor of it to give Hasan a death sentence.
First, they must vote that there is an aggravating factor. In this case, prosecutors will use the fact that there were multiple killings for aggravation.
Second, jurors must unanimously vote that aggravating factors outweigh any mitigating evidence presented by the defense.
Third, they must unanimously vote to put the accused to death.
I'll be updating throughout the day. Follow me on Twitter @KDHcrime.
Eighty members of the media are here today, a slight decline over yesterday. Al Jazeera America, USA Today, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, CBS National, Fox News, CNN, a U.K.-based news outlet called Sky News, regional and local network outlets as well as a blogger who calls himself "The Legendary."
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.