Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan sentenced to death.

Fort Hood Shooter Sentenced to Death

Fort Hood Shooter Sentenced to Death

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Aug. 28 2013 3:13 PM

Fort Hood Shooter Sentenced to Death

In this photo released by the Bell County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who is charged with murder in the Fort Hood shootings, is seen in a booking photo after being moved to the Bell County Jail on April 9, 2010 in Belton, Texas

Photo by Bell County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

A jury of 13 military officers on Wednesday sentenced Maj. Nidal Hasan to death, a move that doesn't exactly come as a surprise given Hasan's defense strategy opened with confessing to going on the shooting spree at Fort Hood in 2009 and ended with basically no effort on his part to have his life spared during the sentencing portion. Still, it represents a significant victory for the federal government, which made it clear from the beginning that its goal was a death sentence. The Associated Press with what likely comes next:

Hasan could become the first American soldier executed in more than half a century. But because the military justice system requires a lengthy appeals process, years or even decades could pass before he is put to death. ... Death sentences are rare in the military, which has just five other prisoners on death row. The cases trigger a long appeals process. And the president must give final authorization before any service member is executed. No American soldier has been executed since 1961.

The jury had to unanimously agree in order to sentence Hasan to death. If they hadn't, the 42-year-old would have automatically received a sentence of life in prison without a chance of parole.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.