In heart-wrenching testimony in the sentencing hearing of convicted Fort Hood, Texas, gunman Maj. Nidal Hasan, a widow vowed to overcome damage to her life done by the former Army psychiatrist who killed 13 and wounded 31 in the deadliest rampage on a U.S. military base.
"The shooting is not going to destroy my life or my children's. He is not going to win. I am in control," Joleen Cahill, the widow of retired Chief Warrant Officer Michael Cahill, said Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Brigitte Woosley / REUTERS
U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan is pictured in court in Fort Hood, Texas in this August 23, 2013 court sketch.
Hasan was convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder for the 2009 rampage at the Army base.
Acting as his own attorney, Hasan has not questioned any of the 20 witnesses during the punishment phase of his court martial, which was in its second day Tuesday.
Prosecutors rested their case midday Tuesday, and Hasan was given an opportunity to testify, but he declined, only saying "the defense rests."
Hasan, 42, now uses a wheelchair after being shot by police during the massacre and has spoken little during the proceedings. In an opening statement he did admit to being the gunman and said he switched sides in what he considered a U.S. war on Islam.
Cahill said she and her three children have struggled with emotional, health and work issues since her husband of 37 years, a civilian worker at Fort Hood, was gunned down. She said, according to Reuters report, that she realized one night, “I needed to fight back.”
Family members and shooting victims have testified how the Fort Hood shootings tore apart their lives.
A mother talked of losing her son in the massacre.
“I get up in the morning and I prepare myself to get through a day without him,” she said.
Brigitte Woosley / AP
Randy Royer, who was shot twice during the Fort Hood shootings, is depicted in a courtroom sketch at the Lawrence William Judicial Center during the sentencing phase for Maj. Nidal Hasan, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in Fort Hood, Texas. Hasan was convicted of killing 13 of his unarmed comrades in the deadliest attack ever on a U.S. military base. (AP Photo/Brigitte Woosley)
A father testified how he lost his pregnant daughter in the shooting and a wife testified about losing her father.
Another crying widow described how the shooting death of her husband devastated the lives of her and her children.
The jury of 13 U.S. Army officers are expected to start deliberating Hasan's punishment on Wednesday.
Hasan could receive life in prison, or be sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murders.
If he is sentenced to death he would join four other American servicemen on death row at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., though the military has not executed a soldier since 1961.
Mark Potter and Charles Hadlock of NBC News as well as Reuters contributed to this report.
On military death row, execution is anything but guaranteed
First published August 27 2013, 1:36 PM