A panel of 13 senior military officials unanimously agreed on the death sentence after less than two and a half hours of deliberations. If a single panel member objected, Hasan would have been sentenced to life in prison. He was also forced to forfeit all pay and other benefits, which he continued to receive while in custody.
Hasan displayed no emotion upon hearing his sentence, the first time since 1961 an active-duty service member has been executed. A Pentagon spokesperson said he will become the sixth person on military death row.
The Army psychiatrist was found guilty earlier this month on 13 counts of premeditated murder after going on a shooting rampage Nov. 5, 2009 at Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where troops were getting medical checkups before deploying to Afghanistan. He fired more than 200 shots total. The massacre was the worst mass murder at a military base in United States history. Hasan’s professed motive was to protect the Taliban as a Muslim guerrilla fighter.
After the sentencing, family members of the victims consoled one another.
“Anyone who would use their religion to commit acts of terrorism serves no God except their own hatred and self-interest,” said Gale Hunt, a mother of one of the victims. “As a Christian, I cannot say I wish anyone dead for crimes against me or my family, but that doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to the death penalty.”
Hasan’s sentence must now be approved by the Fort Hood commanding general who convened the court-martial.
“Now I want it to actually happen,” said Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot seven times in the attack.