FT. HOOD, Texas -- After years of delays and weeks of often searing testimony about the bloody rampage unleashed at this central Texas Army base, the fate of admitted gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is now in the hands of a military jury.
The jury of 13 officers, all of Hasan’s rank or higher, began deliberating at 1:55 p.m. CDT.
Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, has been representing himself in the trial. When the time came for his closing arguments, he was brief.
“The defense chooses not to make a closing statement,” he said.
Hasan, 42, was tried on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in connection with the shootings on Nov. 5, 2009.
Hasan could face the death penalty if convicted.
The jury will consider 45 counts against him. A two-thirds majority is needed to convict on the murder counts, but the verdict must be unanimous for a death sentence. If Hasan is convicted, the jury would also decide his sentence.
During two weeks of trial, prosecutors summoned nearly 90 witnesses and submitted hundreds of pieces of evidence, arguing that the American-born Muslim was motivated by radical religious beliefs to carefully plan and kill soldiers.
Witnesses testified that he shouted “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic, before he began shooting.
During the court-martial, victims described how Hasan coolly went about shooting dozens of his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood's soldier readiness processing center.
Hasan admitted to the shooting at trial and attempted to argue that he attacked deploying soldiers to protect Taliban leaders overseas.
Throughout the proceedings, he appeared in fatigues and a full beard in defiance of Army regulations that he says clash with his religious beliefs.
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