Military Death Sentence Overturned, and its Implications on Hasan
The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals has overturned the death penalty sentence of former Marine Lance Cpl. Kenneth G. Parker:
The court threw out Parker’s conviction for one of the two murders and reassessed his sentence for the other crime. The decision continues a trend of military death sentences being overturned on appeal — 11 out of 16 death sentences since 1984. The last military execution occurred in 1961.
Parker’s crime occurred in 1992.
The ruling was made
due to numerous and substantive procedural and legal failures at trial,” Judge J.A. Maksym noted. “Yet no error by the trial judge below should distract us from the overwhelming evidence of guilt.”
In other words, his guilt was “overwhelming,” but some issues of procedural and legal errors made life in prison without parole more appropriate than the death sentence.
With that background, is it any wonder the military is walking on eggshells over its very precise handling of the case of US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, accused in the Fort Hood massacre? There is much at stake.