Sister of Fort Hood hero will attend Hasan's trial

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 5 at 11:10 PM

McKINNEY — Leila Hunt-Willingham has learned to live without her brother, but his letters and pictures sometimes ease her broken heart.

"In my eyes, he was a very strong, sweet, young man," she said from her home in McKinney.

Army Specialist Jason "J.D." Hunt, 22, was killed in the November 2009 shooting massacre at Fort Hood. He was one of the 13 people who died. Thirty-two others were wounded.

Nearly four years after the incident, Maj. Nidal Hasan, the accused shooter, is set to go on trial  Tuesday. Hasan will be representing himself, and will question his alleged victims.

Hunt-Willingham plans to attend the trial along with her mother and grandmother, but says she isn't looking for closure.

"Nothing that comes out of this trial is going to help me unless there's a miracle worker who can raise people from the dead," she said. "My brother is gone, and I'm just going to learn more about him, to support him... not to really find out the outcome of Major Hasan."

For Hunt-Willingham, there are pieces of the puzzle still missing from that dark day. She hopes she can learn more about her brother's final moments.

"That's essentially why I'm going, just to find out more about my brother. Where he was... what he was doing at the time," she said.

Hasan, an Army psychologist, is facing the death penalty. Hunt-Willingham doesn't believe Hasan or anyone deserves the that punishment. Her perspective is fueled by her faith.

"I just don't want to feed the hate," she said. "It doesn't help me, and the first time I saw him [Hasan], I felt compassion for a very lost man."

Her mission, four years later, remains the same; Focus on the man she was proud of.

"I don't want to glorify the shooter," she said. I would rather glorify my brother, who was a hero."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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