Fort Hood Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty

Nidal Malik Hasan, US Army psychiatrist and alleged shooter at Fort Hood and the victims of the shooting. AP / CBS

Military prosecutors sent a notice Wednesday indicating they plan to seek the death penalty against the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood, a defense attorney said.

Maj. Nadal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5 shooting. Premeditated murder carries the death penalty. But if military jurors convict Hasan, they can only sentence him to death if they determine there is an aggravating factor in the case, according to military law.

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Defense attorney John Galligan said the notice he received from prosecutors outlines as an aggravating factor that more than one person was killed in the same incident.

"They've done everything except tell me to my face that they plan to seek the death penalty," Galligan told The Associated Press from his office near Fort Hood, about 130 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Military prosecutors have not publicly said what punishment they plan to seek, and Fort Hood officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Rich Stevens, an attorney who defends military cases and is not involved in the Hasan case, said crimes that are ineligible for the death penalty do not require jurors to consider aggravating factors.

"The only reason to send a notice of aggravating factors is if you're trying to seek the death penalty," Stevens said.

Military law lists about a dozen possible aggravating factors, but prosecutors listed only one in the notice to Hasan's attorney.

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