FORT HOOD, Texas -- If Nidal Hasan plans to welcome a death sentence as a pathway to martyrdom, the rules of military justice won't let him go down without a fight -- whether he likes it or not.
The Army psychiatrist was sentenced Wednesday to die for the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30. But before an execution date is set, Hasan faces years, if not decades, of appeals. And this time, he won't be allowed to represent himself.
"If he really wants the death penalty, the appeals process won't let it happen for a very long time," said Joseph Gutheinz, a Texas attorney licensed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. "The military is going to want to do everything at its own pace. They're not going to want to let the system kill him, even if that's what he wants."
Hasan opened fire at a Fort Hood medical center packed with soldiers heading to or recently returned from overseas combat deployments. He also was set to soon go to Afghanistan to counsel soldiers there, and said he carried out the attack to protect Muslim insurgents on foreign soil.
During trial, Hasan acknowledged that evidence showed he was the gunman, and put up virtually no defense of his actions. He's suggested in writings that he would "still be a martyr" if he received death. At trial, Lt. Col.