Prosecution for Death of 14th Fort Hood Victim?

November 16th, 2009 by

The Alliance Defense Fund is urging that Fort Hood Terrorist Nidal Malik Hasan be charged with 14 counts of murder, rather than the 13 he’s currently charged with. Who is this 14th victim? The unborn child of Private Francheska Velez. According to the ADF:

The Alliance Defense Fund issued a letter Thursday to the Office of Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Hood, Texas, urging it to enforce the law by charging the suspect in the Fort Hood massacre with the killing of all 14 of the dead victims in the Fort Hood massacre, including the pre-born child of Private Francheska Velez.

“All murder victims–born and pre-born–deserve equal justice,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Women who volunteer to protect our country deserve to know that the government will enforce the laws that protect their children.”

Military prosecutors have charged Maj. Nadil Malik Hasan with 13 counts of premeditated murder after last week’s shooting at Fort Hood but have not yet charged him with the death of Velez’s child, being referred to as “Baby Velez.” Army officials have indicated that additional charges against Hasan are under consideration.

The ADF letter urges enforcement of Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which makes it a crime for anyone “to cause the death…of a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place” regardless of whether the killer intended to kill the child. If the killer intended to kill the child, he can be prosecuted for murder under Article 118.

“According to press accounts, Private Velez had returned to America from Iraq a week before the shooting,” the letter states. “Private Velez was three months pregnant and was excited about being a new mother. She was scheduled to begin maternity leave next month. She was filling out paperwork relating to her pregnancy when she and her child were killed… It would cause a severe and negative impact on morale if Army women were made to believe that the Army valued their children less than they did adult victims of crime. We respectfully request that you enforce UCMJ Article 119a against the suspect.”

According to the letter:

The Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 119a, makes it a crime for anyone to “cause[] the death of.. a child, who is in urtero at the time the conduct takes place,”while he is committing conduct that constitutes murder of the child’s mother under Article 118 (or while committing any of server other offenses against persons). Culpability under 119a explicitly does not require that Maj. Hasan knew about Pvt. Velez’s unborn child; but if he intended to kill the child, the law requires that he be prosecuted under Article 118 for murder of the child.

Notwithstanding the incredible hypocrisy of a government that protects a mother’s right to murder their infant while prosecuting the same murder when someone else is at fault, we are in full support of ADF’s stance and hope to see justice done in the case of Pvt. Velez’s child.

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