FORT HOOD – Prosecutors will spend an hour Wednesday morning asking a jury panel of U.S. Army officers to give Maj. Nidal Hasan the death penalty for killing 13 and wounding 32 during his 2009 shooting rampage on post.
Hasan did not present any defense during the sentencing phase of his trial and it’s uncertain if he will offer anything during closing arguments. His standby attorneys asked the judge on Tuesday if they could present a defense on Hasan’s behalf but she denied it.
The jury is likely to begin deliberations late this morning or early this afternoon.
The first question they face is whether to give Hasan the death penalty. If they vote unanimously for it, then deliberations end and the verdict is returned to the court. But if a single juror votes against the death penalty in their secret ballot process then Hasan will get life in prison.
The jury already found Hasan guilty of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder last Friday.
Hasan will lose his rank of major when he is dismissed from the service.
“A sentence of death includes dismissal,” said Rick Rosen, Texas Tech law professor. “Even if Hasan receives life imprisonment, I am certain the court-martial will dismiss him from the Army. The question is when does it become effective? As a general rule, a dismissal becomes effective only after the completion of appellate review of the case, which could take years.”
Still, Rosen said the Commanding General of Human Resources Command could allow an exception to this policy.
Hasan will forfeit his pay and allowances two weeks after the sentence is announced.