A jury of 13 high-ranking military officers on Friday convicted Army Maj. Nidal Hasan on all 13 counts of murder and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder for his 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood. His conviction is far from a surprise given the former Army psychiatrist had previously admitted that he carried out the attacks and never mounted much of a defense during his trial. The Associated Press explains what was really at stake:
Because Hasan never denied his actions, the court-martial was always less about a conviction than it was about ensuring he received the death penalty. From the beginning of the case, the federal government has sought to execute Hasan, believing that any sentence short of a lethal injection would deprive the military and the families of the dead of the justice they have sought for nearly four years. ... In the next phase of the trial, they must all agree to give Hasan the death penalty before he can be sent to the military's death row, which has just five other prisoners.
The sentencing phase will likely begin with additional testimony from survivors of Hasan's rampage inside an Army medical center. If the jury is unable to unanimously agree on giving the soldier the death penalty, the 42-year-old Hasan would likely spend the rest of his life in prison.