After less than three hours of deliberation, a military jury panel unanimously sentenced convicted Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan to death.
Col. Tara Osborn, the military judge who presided over the trial, told those in the courtoom, including many family members of the men and women who were killed that day, to hold back their emotions as the sentence was read.
"A weight has been lifted off of my shoulders,” Joleen Cahill said. “He's been held accountable for his actions, and the panel gave him justice and I agree with that justice."
Cahill's husband Michael was the only civilian to be killed during the shooting.
"You sat on your hands. You bowed your head. You did what you had to do, so you didn't show the emotion," Cahill said.
While the trial proceedings are finished for now, the healing will take much longer. After years of delays, these families can finally move forward.
"The house of grief is a very large house, and there's a lot of rooms in there,” Kerry Cahill, a daughter of Michael Cahill, said. “This court martial is one of them, and it's a door we get to shut today."
Due to U.S. Army rules, Hasan's case will automatically go to the appeals court.
His military pay and benefits end immediately, but legal experts say the families will have to wait for Hasan's execution.
"Its going to be a long time. If his appeal gets through the process it will be a long time before it's ever carried out the sentence of death," Geoffrey Corn, a law professor, said.
In his psychological evaluation after the shooting, Hasan said an execution would make him a martyr. The prosecution rebutted that in the courtroom, telling jurors Hasan's life is not a gift to God, “We are taking it because he owes a debt to society.”
Hasan will now be transported to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and admitted into the military prison on post. Hasan will stay there while his case goes through appeals.
"We are tired. We are hurt, but we are resolved,” Keely Vanacker, another daughter of Michael Cahill, said. “Justice was served."
Organizers behind a memorial honoring the 13 killed in the attack are still working to raise money for the pavilion.
Right now, they've raised just more than $165,000 of their $402,000 goal. Organizers will be meeting with state leaders.
If you would like to pitch in, contributions can be made by check to Killeen Volunteers Inc. with Fort Hood November 5, 2009 Memorial Pavilion in the memo line. Mail the checks to Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 South W.S. Young Drive, Killeen, TX 76542.
Checks are preferred, but Paypal is accepted as well through FortHoodMemorial.com.