By Jonathan Easley - 08/23/13 05:52 PM EDT
The accused Fort Hood shooter Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was found guilty Friday on charges that he killed 13 people and injured 32 others in a 2009 massacre at a Texas military base.
Hasan represented himself at the trial, and even cross-examined some of the people he maimed in the assault. The former major did not dispute the charges, and said in his opening statement that “the evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter.”
The American-born Muslim said that he acted because he was an “imperfect Muslim” trying to establish “the perfect religion.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) lauded Friday's verdict, saying the families of Hasan's victims "have had to wait for far too long for today’s decision."
“We must turn our attention to ensuring that the victims of this horrible tragedy and their families receive the full honors and benefits bestowed upon soldiers who are wounded or killed in overseas combat zones," Cornyn said in a statement shortly after Friday's verdict was announced.
House Armed Services Committee chief Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) echoed Cornyn's statement on Friday, adding the decision will "bring some peace to all who suffered as a result of the cowardly attack."
Hasan opened fire on the U.S. troops stationed at Ft. Hood, Tex. as they were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.
Hasan was also scheduled to head to Afghanistan with his Army medical unit before going on the shooting rampage.
During the ensuing investigation after the shootings, Hasan reportedly told Army officials the attack was designed to protect Taliban fighters who would have to fight the deploying U.S. troops once they arrived in country.
Hasan attempted to use that argument as part of his defense, but Army judge Col. Tara Osborne refused to allow it into the trial.
The former Army Major reportedly adopted a radical, militant form of Islam after listening to the teachings of al Qaeda leader and U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki.
Al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic cleric who was also a Yemeni citizen, was suspected of being the head of operations for al Qaeda's Yemeni cell, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) at the time of his death in a 2011 U.S. drone strike.
Also killed in the drone strike in Yemen was al-Awlaki's 16 year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was also a U.S. citizen.
Hasan's affiliation with the al Qaeda leader, as well as his comments regarding the motivations behind the attack, made clear the former Army officer is "a man who . . . was and is an enemy of the United States," McKeon said in a statement.
--Carlo Muñoz contributed to this report.