12 17 2014
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FORT HOOD, Texas (CNN) -- Heartbreaking testimony from victims and family members of the Fort Hood shooting continued Tuesday, as the court-martial of convicted shooter Nidal Hasan moves closer to a dramatic conclusion.

"The shooting and his killing is not going to destroy my family," said Joleen Cahill, widow of Michael Cahill, the only civilian to die in the massacre. "He is not going to win," she said firmly, referring to the defendant sitting just feet away.

The 2009 killings on this sprawling U.S. Army base by a lone gunman left 13 people dead and 32 others wounded, some severely.

The sentencing phase could wrap up by mid-week, and the jury panel of 13 officers will then decide whether the Army Medical Corps officer should die for his crimes. The wild card is what Hasan will say to the court -- if anything -- when he gets his turn to speak. He serves as his own attorney and has not put up much of a defense.

He asked no questions of the prosecution witnesses who spoke separately on the stand. None directly addressed Hasan at the defense table or bothered to look at him while they testified.

Three shooting victims, six widows, five parents and an adult offspring were among those who fought tears to describe their physical and emotional suffering over the past two days.

Cahill recalled going numb when she was told about the killings. "A lot of that night was a blank."

Also testifying Tuesday was Jerri Krueger, mother of Sgt. Amy Krueger, who was 29 at the time of the incident. She recalled what her daughter said the day of the 9/11 attacks: "She said, 'Mom, I'm joining the Army.' I told her she couldn't fight bin Laden all by herself, and she said, "Watch me."

Krueger and her best friend enlisted the next day, and had aspired to be a clinical psychologist.

"When a parent loses a child," said Jerri Krueger, "it creates an irreplaceable void. I live with that every day."

Hasan was convicted Friday of all 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting rampage at a Fort Hood deployment processing center. The incident occurred about a month before Hasan was to deploy to Afghanistan.

Wounded by two gunshots was Lt. Col Randy Royer, a Reservist.

"I have mental issues, I take anxiety medication," he told the panel Tuesday. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and dealing with crowds is especially tough. Visiting the local pharmacy, where chairs line the counter, reminds him of the setup at the center where the killings occurred. "I don't do well with that," he said softly.

Hasan continued to forgo asking any questions of the witnesses.

Prosecutors will call more witnesses to describe the impact the shootings had on their lives, part of the "aggravating" evidence the prosecution will use to try to demonstrate why Hasan deserves lethal injection.

The court-martial unexpectedly recessed mid-afternoon Monday, and Hasan's standby attorney John Galligan told CNN that "health-related concerns promoted the delay."

From his wheelchair, the defendant, who was wounded by military police in the attacks and paralyzed, repeatedly asked the bench Monday to take brief breaks from the proceedings.

The American-born psychiatrist of Palestinian descent has the opportunity to offer "mitigating" evidence that could persuade the panel to spare his life.

But victims' family members had their turn Tuesday. Among them was, Philip Warman who was so distraught about losing his wife -- 55-year-old Lt. Col Juanita Warman -- that he testified that friends had to take his guns away for his own safety. And he abused alcohol almost constantly until the following June.

"I was falling apart," he testified. "It was like something was ripped from me."

Warman entered rehab and has not had a drink since. He earns Alcoholics Anonymous coins as reminders of his sobriety. He told the panel that he pushes the coins into the ground when he visits his wife's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

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