According to a recent Fox News report, Aaron Alexis has been identified as the alleged Washington Navy Yard shooter. This is a developing story as law enforcement continues its investigation at the active crime scene in Washington, DC. Photo Credit: Fox News, FBI, AP
From a legal standpoint, there are a number of very crucial unanswered questions. For instance, is Aaron Alexis the dead shooter? Was he a member of the military? What was his motive?
Was this terror related, ideologically motivated, or are we talking about disgruntled employees?
If Aaron Alexis or any of the suspected shooters are members of the military, they will fall under the jurisdiction of the military courts. If they are civilians, they will fall under the jurisdiction of U.S. District Court because the murders and shootings took place on Federal property.
One key difference between the two jurisdictions is the use of the death penalty. Despite the recent imposition of a death sentence in the case of Army major Nidal Hasan, the military rarely imposes the death penalty. However, I suspect any case of mass murder, such as this one, would be a very likely candidate.
We will keep you posted as things develop.