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Moussaoui prays and curses

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published April 4, 2006


ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A federal jury found al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui eligible Monday to be executed, linking him directly to the horrific Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and concluding that his lies to FBI agents led to at least one death on that day.

A defiant Moussaoui said, "You'll never get my blood, God curse you all."

After months of hearings and trial testimony - punctuated by Moussaoui's occasional outbursts - he now faces a second phase of the sentencing trial to determine whether he will be put to death.

That phase begins Thursday morning for the only person to face charges in this country in connection with the nation's worst terrorist assault, the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people as jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

Moussaoui sat in his chair and prayed silently as the verdict was read, refusing to join his defense team in standing. His comment came after the hearing.

The jury now will hear testimony on whether the 37-year-old Frenchman, who was in jail at the time of the attacks, should be executed for his role.

Those testifying will include families of Sept. 11 victims who will describe the human impact of the al-Qaida mission. Court-appointed defense lawyers, whom Moussaoui has tried to reject, will summon experts to suggest he is schizophrenic after an impoverished childhood during which he faced racism in France over his Moroccan ancestry.

On the key question before the jurors in phase one, they answered yes that at least one victim died Sept. 11 as a direct result of Moussaoui's actions.

Had the jury voted against his eligibility for the death penalty, Moussaoui would have been sentenced to life in prison.

Rosemary Dillard, whose husband, Eddie, died in the attacks, said she felt a sense of vindication from the verdict.

"This man has no soul, has no conscience," she said of Moussaoui. "What else could we ask for but this?"

[Last modified April 4, 2006, 03:15:07]


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