A military jury as unanimously condemned Nidal Malik Hasan to death by legal injection for killing 13 people in a shooting spree at the Fort Hood military base in 2009. This sentence will make Hasan the first member of the US armed forces to be executed by the US military for over 50 years. But who was the last?
Private John Arthur Bennett was an African-American soldier born in Virginia and stationed in Austria. A few days before Christmas 1954, the 19-year-old Bennett left his base, drunk and in search of a brothel. He chanced upon an 11-year-old local girl instead, raped her and then attempted to drown her in a nearby stream.
He was sentenced to death by a court-martial a month later, but days before his execution date the girl (who had survived the attack) and her parents wrote to President John F. Kennedy to ask that Bennett's life be spared. Kennedy took no action and Bennett was hanged at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1961.