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FORT HOOD, Texas Maj. Nidal M. Hasan was sentenced to death Aug. 28 following court-martial panel deliberations at Fort Hood, which lasted less than two hours. The panel also included as punishment forfeiture of all of Hasans pay and allowances, along with dismissal from the service.
Earlier, the court-martial panel had returned a verdict with a unanimous finding of guilty to the original charge of 13 counts of premeditated murder, and guilty of 32 counts of the additional charges of attempted premeditated murder.
The last service member to be executed by the military was Pvt. John A. Bennett, who was hanged April 13, 1961, at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after being convicted of rape and attempted murder.
In Hasans sentencing, lead prosecutor Col. Michael Mulligan rested the governments case on the morning of Aug. 27, after two days of emotional testimony from surviving widows and parents of some of those murdered, Nov. 5, 2009.
One of the witnesses, Joleen Cahill, said her husband, retired Chief Warrant Officer Michael Cahill, had given his life in an effort to stop Hasan. She spoke of the devastation experienced by her family in the time following the shooting. After the loss of her husband, whom she described as the glue that kept her family together, she said she is now taking control back from the acts of Hasan and into her own hands once again.
Also testifying were retired Lt. Col. Randy Royer, Geraldine Krueger, Sheryll Pearson, Philip Warman, Teena Nemelka and Christine Gaffaney. Each experienced personal loss, either directly or by way of the loss of their husband, wife, daughter or son. Each faced Hasan and related the cost of his actions on the lives of their Families.
In his closing argument, Mulligan argued that Hasan should not be punished for his religion, he should be punished for his hate. He went further to say that Hasans actions created a debt to society and this debt should be paid with his life. Hasan elected not to provide a closing argument.
Given that the death sentence was imposed, the military justice system requires this case to be automatically appealed to the U.S. Army Criminal Court of Appeals, and then to the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
While the appeal process is underway, Hasan will be incarcerated in the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
At a press conference on Fort Hood, Aug. 28, statements were read on behalf of four Families who suffered losses in the shooting.
We are thankful for the just verdict that has finally been rendered, stated Melissa Czemerda, daughter of Lt. Col. Juanita L. Warman.
Jerri Krueger, mother of Staff Sgt. Amy S. Krueger, wrote: We have finally come to the end of one long emotional journey. Although the pain of losing Amy will always weigh heavy upon us, we have some relief knowing that Hasan was found guilty without doubt and that he will pay for what he did.
Teena Nemelka, mother of Pfc. Aaron T. Nemelka, thanked the prosecution team in her letter, for their hard work and diligence to bring Hasan to justice.