Survivors, Family Members Testify in Fort Hood Sentencing

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Nidal Hasan has been found guilty in 2009 shooting rampage; jury will decide between life in prison or death penalty (Published Thursday, Feb 20, 2014)

    (NECN/NBC News: Sarah Dallof) Tearful yet powerful statements in court today as family members of those killed by Army Major Nidal Hasan as well as those who survived the shooting took the stand.

    They told of frantic hours waiting for news and the pain of telling children what had happened.

    The widow of Major Eduardo Caraveo spoke of a desperate search for answers to learn the fate of her husband.

    For weeks after the couple's two and a half year old son asked when daddy would come home.

    Private First Class Francesca Velez was several months pregnant when she was killed.

    Her father was preparing to move to Texas to help raise his grandchild, says her death hurt him to the bottom of his soul.

    And the wife of Private First Class Kham Xiong spoke of losing her husband and best friend as well as her struggle today as a single parent of three.

    "I think it's also important that these victims finally have the opportunity to express to this jury the magnitude of the suffering he inflicted on them and the way he destroyed their lives," said military law expert Geoffrey Corn.

    Using photos and prompting witnesses to share stories, the prosecutor worked to show the jury Hasan not only took 13 lives, he forever changed hundreds of others.

    Emotional statements the jury will consider when deciding if Hasan will receive the death penalty or life in prison for the November 2009 attack.

    Former soldier Howard Ray, who escaped the massacre, believes death is a just punishment.

    "I've been pretty adamant from the beginning that he should receive the death penalty simply because he had no regard for these individuals' lives," Ray said.

    Those on the stand are not allowed to give their opinions on what punishment they think Hasan should be given, or their feelings about him.

    However their stories of loss illustrate their suffering.. And the terrible impact Hasan's actions have had on their lives.

    Hasan will also be given a chance to speak during this sentencing phase.

    He told the judge this morning he will continue representing himself, despite her urging him to reconsider.