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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
9/11 families split on Moussaoui
Abraham Scott and Carrie Lemack
Many relatives came to court to hear the verdict
Relatives of those who died on 9/11 expressed a range of emotions after a jury spared execution for al-Qaeda plotter Zacarias Moussaoui.

The verdict of life imprisonment clearly upset many but others said they were relieved that Moussaoui did not become a martyr.

"I think it's a good decision," said Monica Gabrielle, whose husband Richard died in the World Trade Center.

"First of all, he had nothing to do with the events that occurred on 9/11."

I still support the death penalty, but on the other hand I wholeheartedly support the decision of the jury
Abraham Scott

She added: "To offer the death penalty because he lied to the FBI - there'd be a lot of people on death row."

But Patricia Reilly, who lost her sister Lorraine Lee in the New York attacks, had a very different perspective.

"I guess in this country you can kill 3,000 people and not pay with your life, she said. "I feel very much let down by this country."

'Right decision'

The mixed emotions of those intimately affected by the 2001 terror strikes were evident throughout Moussaoui's sentencing trial, where both the prosecution and defence called victims' relatives to testify.

Alexander and Maureen Santora
Alexander and Maureen Santora lost their son on 9/11

While they were not allowed to advocate a particular sentence, their emotional testimony left the court in no doubt as to where they stood.

During the trial, Abraham Scott, whose wife Janice died in the Pentagon, thought Moussaoui deserved to die.

But when the verdict came, he said the jury "made the right decision".

"I didn't change my mind," he said. "I still support the death penalty, but on the other hand I wholeheartedly support the decision of the jury."

Moussaoui will get one last chance to speak publicly on Thursday when he will formally be sentenced to life in prison.

He is likely to be sent to a federal maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, for the rest of his life under conditions that will prevent him from having any contact with the outside world.

'Life is worse'

"I feel happy he will be spending the rest of his life surrounded by Americans, who he hates," said Maureen Santora whose 23-year-old son died in the Twin Towers.

She and husband Alexander went to the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan to watch the jury's decision on closed-circuit video.

"I think life (imprisonment) is worse. He won't be a martyr now. My hope is that he is forgotten, and that once this trial is over no-one will remember his name."

The former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, who testified for the prosecution at the trial, said he was very disappointed when he heard the verdict.

But he said he stood in awe at how the legal system had worked in coming to this result.

His view about the US justice system was shared by Rosemary Dillard, whose husband, Eddie, died in the Pentagon.

"He [Moussaoui] is a bad man, but we have a fair society here. It shows the world we're not going to stand for terrorists to come to our country and to be let loose."

A look at Zacharias Moussaoui's background


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