Fort Hood Shooting Suspect to Face Death Penalty

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan

FORT WORTH, Texas (The Blaze/AP) — The Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly Fort Hood rampage will be tried in a military court and face the death penalty, the commanding general for the Texas military post announced Wednesday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 shooting spree at the Texas Army post.

It was not immediately clear when Hasan will be arraigned in a Fort Hood courtroom. He must plead not guilty based on the nature of the case, according to military law.

Hasan’s lead attorney, John Galligan, had urged the commanding general not to seek the death penalty, saying such cases were more costly, time-consuming and restrictive. In cases where death is not a punishment option for military jurors, soldiers convicted of capital murder are automatically sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

“I believe the Army as an institution has long been planning to go this route,” Galligan told The Associated Press on Wednesday from his office near Fort Hood, about 125 miles south of Fort Worth. CNN has more:

Galligan also has repeatedly has complained that he and his client have been denied full details of what U.S. intelligence agencies knew about Hasan’s contacts with overseas terrorists, including Anwar  al-Alwaki, now believed to be in Yemen and the target of American drone attacks.

Two Army colonels who reviewed the case previously recommended that Hasan be tried in a military court and face the death penalty.

Galligan has declined to say whether he is considering an insanity defense for his client.

Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police on the day of the rampage. He remains in the Bell County Jail, which houses defendants for nearby Fort Hood.