Major Nidal Hasan: A Military Death Penalty Trial is Uncommon

Military Executions1Jury selection began Tuesday in the murder trial of Major Nidal Hasan. Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and injuring nearly three dozen more, during the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

Hasan has admitted to his role in the shooting and could face the death penalty.

If he’s convicted and sentenced to death, Hasan could become the first U.S. soldier put to death in more than a half-century.

The last military execution was April 13, 1961. U.S. Army Private John Bennett was hanged after being convicted of the rape and attempted murder of an 11-year-old girl in Austria

Since the Uniform Code of Military Justice was enacted in 1950, only 10 service members have been executed.

Most death sentences are commuted to a lesser punishment, often life in prison.

The last marine executed was William Boyington, in 1817.

The last navy execution was in 1849. Two seamen, John Black and Peter Black, were hanged after a mutiny.

Today, a military execution would be performed by lethal injection, but it’s never been used.

There are five men currently on military death row in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas:

  • Ronald Gray, sentenced in 1988 for 14 charges, including rape and murder.
  • Dwight Loving, sentenced in 1989 for murdering two taxicab drivers.
  • Hasan Akbar, sentenced in 2005 for murdering a soldier and an airman, as well as wounding 14 others at camp pennsylvania, kuwait.
  • Andrew Witt, sentenced in 2005 for murdering an airman and his wife.
  • Timothy Hennis, sentenced in 2010 for the 1986 murder of three people in north carolina.

If Hasan does receive a death sentence, he could still appeal. Also, no military member can be executed unless the President personally confirms the death penalty.


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