FORT HOOD, Texas — With his life on the line, Maj. Nidal Hasan has done nothing to dissuade jurors from giving him a death sentence. When his standby lawyers pleaded in vain to argue on his behalf, he described them as “overzealous.”
Hasan presented no witnesses or evidence during the sentencing phase of his trial, which began after he was convicted last week of killing 13 people in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood.
He had one final chance today to give a closing argument before his case went to the jury, but he declined — continuing an absent defense that he has used since his trial began three weeks ago.
The Army psychiatrist’s behavior has only stoked suspicion that his ultimate goal is martyrdom, in the form of a death sentence that would allow him to fulfill what prosecutors have described as a “jihad duty” under his Islamic faith.
The lead prosecutor, Col. Mike Mulligan, told jurors this morning that history was full of instances of death in the name of religion. But he said it would be “wrong and unsupportive” to tie Hasan’s actions to a wider cause
“He’ll never be a martyr,” Mulligan said. “This is not his gift to God. This is his debt to society. This is the cost of his murderous rampage.”