Fort Hood sentencing: The Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hasan, will see his fate determined this week as military prosecutors attempt to persuade a 13-member martial jury that the former U.S. Army Medical Corps officer deserves death. CNN on Aug. 26 carried the story of Hasan's sentencing hearing.
The 43-year-old Hasan fatally shot 13 and injured more than 30 others in the November 5, 2009, Fort Hood mass shooting. At a court martial in August, Hasan admitted to the killings, and he was later found guilty of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.
Now, a steady stream of witnesses have their moment to recount to the jury how Hasan, who has been described as “socially isolated” by his former colleagues, changed their lives forever.
Many of the families recounted the horrifying moment, anxiously awaiting word on their service member loved ones, when they saw two somber military soldiers approach their door, hats in hand.
Angela Rivera's husband, Maj. Eduardo Caraveo, was one of those gunned down by Hasan, who shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (God is great) before opening fire on the unarmed soldiers. Riviera would listen to her husband’s taped voice mail recording over and over just to hear him again.
At the hearing, the widow was asked how she explained the death of her husband to their son.
“Ms. Rivera, how do you explain to a 2-year-old the concept of death?” asked Col. Mike Mulligan, the lead prosecutor.
“I couldn't do it,” Rivera replied, adding that she needed the help of a therapist to come to terms with her loss.
Cindy Seager, whose husband Capt. Russell Seager was killed, said she had to reset her life after 30 years of being with her husband.
“I'd known him for 30 years,” Cindy said. “I had to learn to be independent again, find things to do. It's getting better, but it's difficult.”
“I miss him a lot,” she added. “I miss his soft, gentle hands. How he holds me. He made me feel safe and secure. Now the other side of the bed is empty and cold.”
Jurors visibly fought back tears during the heart-rending testimony of the two women.
Hasan, an American-born Muslim, is representing himself at the trial. There is a chance he could take the stand in his own defense. Thus far, Hasan has chosen to question none of the prosecution's 12 witnesses.
Hasan will spend the rest of his life in prison, unless convicted to be killed. No American soldier has been executed since 1961; other military inmates scheduled for execution have had their sentences commuted to prison on various appeals.
Juan Velez, the father of pregnant daughter Pvt. Francheska Velez, has no doubt he wants to see Hasan’s life ended.
“That man did not just kill 13, he killed 15. He killed my grandson [Velez' unborn child] and myself,” Velez said. “It hurt me to the bottom of my soul.”