Fort Hood trial ends without closing argument from Hasan

Accused passes on opportunity to make final statement before jury begins deliberations

A courtroom sketch of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan during closing arguments of his court-martial on Thursday.
Brigitte Woosley/AP

The court-martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the military psychiatrist on trial for killing 13 people during a shooting attack at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, ended Thursday without a closing statement from the accused.

Hasan, an American-born Muslim, is representing himself. The prosecution wrapped up its case on Tuesday after calling some 90 witnesses. On Wednesday, Hasan told the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, that he rested his defense without calling a single witness.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, laid out a detailed case Thursday in their closing statements, saying there was no question that Hasan planned and carried out the attack.

"The facts I laid out to you give you only one option," the prosecutor, Col. Steve Henricks, told jurors, according to The Associated Press. "The accused without a doubt -- without any doubt at all -- had a premeditated design to kill."

Jurors began deliberating the case just before 2 p.m. Thursday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, second from right, sits with his standby defense attorneys as judge Col. Tara Osborn looks on, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.
Brigitte Woosley/AP

RELATED: Death penalty for Hasan doubtful

Maj. Nidal Hasan may call for his own execution at his murder trial in Killeen, Texas, but the closest he will likely get to the execution chamber is the barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where five other soldiers on death row wait out their own sentences.

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Military prosecutors are asking the 13 officers on the jury for a unanimous conviction on the charges of premeditated murder -- the only way Hasan would receive the death penalty.

"There's no doubt the evidence you heard in this case shows he committed the offense," Henricks said, according to the AP.

Henricks said Hasan, 42, used the most sophisticated weaponry available for the attack, including laser sights, and practiced at a gun range.

Hasan is also charged with wounding more than 30 others in the attack at the Texas military base.

Earlier in the trial, the prosecution attempted to use material to present a motive for the attack, but the judge blocked the evidence. Hasan has himself already made one attempt at discussing his motivations. He tried to raise the argument that he had killed his fellow soldiers to protect Muslims from American military action, referring specifically to the Taliban in Afghanistan, where he was set to deploy.

Acting as his own attorney, Hasan had said in his opening statement that the evidence would show he was the shooter.

"There's death and destruction for both sides," he told the court then. "That is for both friend and foe, but the evidence presented at this trial will only show one side." Court documents reportedly showed that he had told mental health evaluators he wanted to become a martyr.

Hasan has been paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair since authorities shot him in the back as the attack ended.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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