Loved ones of the Sept. 11 dead welcomed the verdict Monday making al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui eligible for the death penalty, one describing him as a man with “no soul” but another wanting him spared so he can tell more about the plot.
“I describe him like a dog with rabies, one that cannot be cured,” said Abraham Scott, who lost his wife Janice Marie in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and has witnessed much of the sentencing trial. “The only cure is to put him or her to death.”
In New York, Bruce De Cell said by phone he opposed the death penalty for Moussaoui and hoped he would talk if given a life sentence instead of execution in the second phase of the trial. “He can implicate more people, he said. De Cell’s son-in-law, Mark Petrocelli, died in the attacks.
The jury’s finding that Moussaoui’s lies after his arrest in August 2001 were responsible for at least one Sept. 11 death opens a second chapter that will determine whether he deserves to be executed. The only other sentence the jury can decide is life in prison.
Families to testify
That stage, opening Thursday, is expected to include wrenching testimony from families of the Sept. 11 victims.
Outside the courthouse, Rosemary Dillard, whose husband Eddie was on the hijacked airliner that flew into the Pentagon, said she felt a sense of vindication from the verdict.
“This man has no soul, has no conscience,” she said of the only man charged in the U.S. in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. “What else could we ask for but this?”
She said: “He deserves the death penalty — 2,997 people prove that he deserves it.”
Dillard added that the attacks affected everyone: “None of you feel the way you did before Sept. 11.”
But in a trial that also focused on the government’s ineptness in following up on pre-Sept. 11 leads, federal agencies were not let off the hook by victims’ families.
Scott said as much as he wants Moussaoui to be executed, he thinks the government deserves equal blame “for not acting on certain indicators that could have prevented 9/11 from happening.”
Rosaleen Tallon, whose firefighter brother, Sean Tallon, was killed at the trade center, agreed “the government really dropped the ball.”
“We knew he was guilty,” Tallon said of Moussaoui.
But she said her religious beliefs do not support the death penalty.
“I personally would love if he had to sit for the next 30 or 40 years of his life,” she said. “He almost wants the death penalty. He really almost wants to go out a martyr.”
Bill Doyle, who son Joseph died in the World Trade Center, said Moussaoui deserves the death penalty. “Apparently he knew about it, so I think the verdict is just.”