Ft. Hood – You knew there was a verdict when Judge (Col.) Tara Osborn called the jury back into the courtroom for the second time in less than a half hour – at 12:32 CST.
She told members of the gallery, “We have had no outbursts from the gallery throughout the trial, and the Court thanks you.” She then admonished them, as she has every day for the past three weeks, to behave in a “calm, quiet and dignified manner.”
And then she had the bailiff hand her the 23-page worksheet that contained the jury's findings on all 13 specifications of premeditated murder and 32 specifications of premeditated attempted murder, poring over each page to make sure it was in due form.
The most senior member of the jury, a black woman named Col. Keller,
read aloud, “Nidal Malik Hasan, the panel has reached by a unanimous vote a verdict of guilty of all specifications on the original (murder) specifications and on the additional (attempted murder) specifications, guilty.”
The unanimous finding of guilt on the capital murder charges clears the way for a sentence of death by lethal injection. Hasan will be entitled to an automatic appeal to the appeals courts.
Representatives of the national media, about 75 in number, scampered for their phones and cameras and satellite trucks on a dead run.
There was a brief visit to the courtroom a half hour earlier to correct the spelling of the name of the President of the Court Martial and to correct a typographical error on one of the additional specifications. Following those administrative details, there was much speculation among seasoned reporters that a verdict would be coming shortly.
When they heard the judge's admonishment against any outbursts or displays of emotion, you could have heard a pin drop.
Sentencing phase of the trial will proceed at 9 a.m. on Monday, August 26.