In Final Chance to Speak, Fort Hood Gunman Silent

Nidal Hasan had nothing to say during sentencing phase

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 28, 2013 12:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – Nidal Hasan continued his "absent defense" today, declining to give a closing argument as the sentencing phase of his trial for the 2009 Fort Hood massacre came to an end. Hasan, who is acting as his own lawyer, has not offered a defense or called any witnesses during the trial or the sentencing phase, the AP reports, and today's opportunity was his last chance to address the jury.

Many suspect his goal is to receive a death sentence and become a martyr, as the final act in what prosecutors called his "jihad duty." But, the lead prosecutor told jurors today, "He'll never be a martyr. This is not his gift to God. This is his debt to society. This is the cost of his murderous rampage." Hasan's standby attorneys have repeatedly attempted to intervene on his behalf (they wanted to tell jurors about his good behavior while in custody, for instance), but he objected just as repeatedly, and at one point said he had "overzealous defense counsel." The two-day sentencing phase featured emotional testimony from the survivors of those Hasan killed.

In this courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Hasan, right, appears at the Lawrence William Judicial Center during the sentencing phase of his trial, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas.   (AP Photo/Brigitte Woosley)
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