Fort Hood shooter sentencing: Will Nidal Hasan finally take the stand? (+video)(Read article summary)
The sentencing phase of the trial of Nidal Hasan gives the convicted Fort Hood shooter an opportunity to speak in his own defense, without cross-examination.
The jury that found US Army Maj. Nidal Hasan guilty on all counts for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, will now decide whether he is sentenced to the death penalty or to a life in prison.
The sentencing portion of the trial begins Monday after Major Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist, was found guilty Friday on all 45 charges for killing 13 soldiers and wounding another 31 about a month before he and his unit were to deploy to Afghanistan.
Prosecutors are expected to call more than a dozen family members of those killed to speak about the impact of the loss of their loved ones.
Hasan may also take the witness stand to speak publicly for the first time since the shootings and has the option of presenting mitigating circumstances. Unlike during the trial phase, Hasan can make a statement without being cross-examined by prosecutors, if he chooses to speak without being under oath.
“On Friday, Hasan told the judge he needed time to prepare, perhaps an extra day after the prosecution finishes, an indication that he planned to present something at sentencing,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Hasan’s civilian lawyer, John Galligan, has also suggested that Hasan could put himself on the witness stand this week, the Associated Press writes.
Legal analysts believe Hasan could use his statement to speak about the defense that military judge Col. Tara Osborn had prohibited: that he was defending Taliban leaders from attack by US soldiers about to deploy from Fort Hood.