Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is dying to be executed. He’s confessed to plotting the 9/11 attacks and a host of other terrorist activity, and said he’d like to be a martyr. But that’s significantly less likely to happen now that he’ll be tried by a military commission, the LA Times reports. Military courts forbid suspects from pleading guilty to capital crimes, and experts say a jury of military officers will be less likely to hand him a death sentence.
The military hasn’t executed anyone in 50 years, while federal courts have executed three people in the last decade. “The federal courts are given to stricter sentences,” says the president of the National Institute of Military Justice. “He would have stood a better chance of getting the death penalty in Manhattan.” Jurors may also pass on a death sentence precisely because Mohammed wants one. “There is a sense of not wanting to satisfy his desire to win adulation for his cause,” says one military law professor. (Read more Khalid Sheikh Mohammed stories.)