The US military judicial system has had a busy week. Bradley Manning was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in a military prison for whistle-blowing and Friday both Major Nidal Hasan and SSG Robert Bales have been convicted of murder.
Major Hassan, 42, never denied that he was the shooter at Fort Hood Texas army base in 2009. As his alleged crimes could attract the death sentence he was not allowed to enter a gulty plea. Friday he has been found guilty of committing 13 premeditated murders and 32 premeditated attempted murders when he went on the killing spree at the camp.
All that remains is his sentence. Media sources claim he wants to be a martyr and so will welcome a death sentence. He may however be jailed for life. Sky News reports: The army psychiatrist could face the death penalty after military jurors reached unanimous verdicts on 13 counts of premeditated murder and also found him guilty of 32 counts of premeditated attempted murder.
Hasan gave no visible reaction as the verdict was read out. The jury will begin hearing the "penalty phase" of the court martial on Monday and make a recommendation to the judge, who will determine the sentence. If the death penalty is approved, Hasan would face death by lethal injection for the 2009 shooting spree on the Texas base."
SSG Bales on the other hand now knows his fate. He was found guilty of killing 16 Afgan civilians, many children and women, when he shot 22 people in two Afghan villages in 2012. His defense had claimed he was suffering from PTSD but the judge found him guilty and sentenced him to life in jail. His defense lawyers hoped for a chance of parole after serving 10 or 20 years but he was told he will spend the rest of his life in jail.
In June 2013 Bales pleaded guilty to the murders in a deal which avoided the death penalty.
Hassan and Bales will no doubt launch appeals. Updates as available.
Sky News reporting the Bales verdict says:
The only possible sentences the six-member jury had to consider was life in prison with the chance of release after 20 years, or life without release.