Hasan, 42, a U.S.-born Muslim who acted as his own attorney, was convicted of 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 of attempted murder by a panel of senior officers. The case will now move to the sentencing phase, during which further witnesses may be called and Hasan could testify before a punishment is handed down.
At a pretrial hearing, the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, ruled that Hasan could not defend himself by arguing that he carried out the killings to protect Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.
Instead, the defendant chose to make his case to the public through a series of communiques and authorized leaks to newspapers, arguing that he was waging jihad because of the United States’ “illegal and immoral aggression against Muslims” in Iraq and Afghanistan. In another document, it emerged he had told a mental-health panel that “if I died by lethal injection, I would still be a martyr.”
During the court-martial, Osborn refused a request by Hasan’s three standby lawyers to limit their role because they believed the defendant was trying to secure a death sentence.
Experts said that in spite of Hasan’s apparent desire to be executed. it will be years before a potential death sentence could be carried out.
Under the military’s justice system, there are several automatic appeal stages, during which lawyers are likely to be appointed to represent Hasan, regardless of the defendant’s wishes.