Ft. Hood Death Sentence Gets Mixed Reactions

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The same jury that convicted Army Maj. Nidal Hasan on 13 counts of premeditated murder chose the death penalty over life in prison without parole Wednesday.

"This has been a very long and exhausting process," said Keely Vanacker, daughter Chief Warrant Officer-2 Michael Grant Cahill, who was killed in the 2009 rampage. "We are tired, we are hurt, but we are resolved justice has been served."

On Thursday, the verdict is getting mixed reactions. Many are worried that a death sentence was exactly what Hasan wanted in his quest for martyrdom.

Only weeks ago, his standby defense team asked to be relieved because they felt Hasan was seeking a guilty verdict. But victims say it's a sentence they'll accept.

"It was a concern for some, but I'm fine with that now because it will take a very long time for him to be executed, and it was a much stiffer punishment than life without parole," Cahill's wife, Joleen, said.

They say it's a sentence that fits the heinousness of the crime. Among those killed was a pregnant mother, who pleaded for her unborn child before Hasan killed her.

Now that this phase of the victims' quest for justice is over, many are turning their attention to another issue: a civil case against the government.

They say the attack should be reclassified as combat-related instead of workplace violence to make victims eligible for more medical benefits -- and to recognize those who fought back with military decorations.

During his trial, Hasan stated that he attacked the unarmed soldiers to protect Muslim insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Anyone who would use their religion to commit acts of terrorism serves no God except their own hatred and self-interest," said Gale Hunt, mother of slain Spc. J.D. Hunt.

The suit also slams the FBI.

The left-wing magazine, Mother Jones, recently reported on FBI emails that show Hasan was on the bureau's radar nearly a year before the Fort Hood massacre. They intercepted several emails between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic cleric with ties to 9/11.

"He was radicalized and I think a lot of those red flags were ignored," Jessie Jane Duff, with Concerned Veterans for America, said. "So in this era of extremist Islamic behavior, we have to take note of those that are practicing that type of behavior."

The FBI decided against interviewing Hasan or his superiors because they didn't want their investigation of Awlaki to harm Hasan's career. One agent described the case as "politically sensitive."

Before an execution date is set, Hasan faces years, if not decades of appeals. He will not be allowed to represent himself during the lengthy process.

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