Judge Refuses to Remove Death Penalty in Fort Hood Shooting

Serra Mesa resident John Gaffaney was among those killed in the shooting

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    Serra Mesa resident John Gaffaney was a victim in the Nov. 2009 shooting involving Maj. Nidal Hasan. In the background, a flag was lowered in honor of the American soldiers killed in the mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas,

    A judge has decided a Fort Hood shooting suspect still can face the death penalty if convicted in the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation.

    Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in the November 2009 shooting rampage.

    Serra Mesa resident John Gaffaney, 56, a supervisor for San Diego County’s Adult Protective Services Department, was among those killed. 

    On Wednesday, the judge denied Hasan's request to remove the death penalty as a punishment option.

    The judge was expected to rule later on Hasan's request to plead guilty to 13 counts of premeditated murder in the 2009 attack on the Texas Army post. But Army rules prohibit a judge from accepting a guilty plea in a death penalty case.

    Hasan also is charged with 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. He faces execution or life in prison without parole.

    Hearings were scheduled through Friday to reconsider defense motions previously rejected by the former judge.

    Gaffaney, a psychiatric nurse who worked with the elderly, was preparing for a one year deployment to Iraq while at Ft. Hood.

    Fort Hood Victim Returns Home

    [DGO] Fort Hood Victim Returns Home
    The remains of 56-year-old Capt. John Gaffaney were flown to MCAS Miramar from Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware. (Published Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009)

    He was honored in a special ceremony in the days following the shooting