Conflict & Justice

Fort Hood shooter may face death penalty in court martial


Major Nidal Malik Hasan could face the death penalty in the military trial for the killing of 13 people at Fort Hood, each of which will be tried as a capital offense.


U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

The U.S. military has approved a possible death penalty in the future military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the American Muslim accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

Hasan, 40, a former Army psychiatrist, will stand trial by court-martial within months, and on Wednesday Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, the Fort Hood commander, formally announced that the charges against him will be tried as capital offenses, CNN reports.

A capital court-martial is highly unusual. The last military execution in the United States took place in 1961.

The decision eliminates the possibility that Hasan could enter a guilty plea, which would lead to a costly and lengthy trial, CNN reports.

Witnesses told  hearings at Fort Hood in 2010 that Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" — or "God is Greatest" in Arabic — just before opening fire on a group of soldiers being deployed to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, Reuters reports.

He is paralyzed from the chest down after being shot by civilian police officers during his alleged Nov. 5, 2009 shooting rampage and is confined to a wheelchair.