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Moussaoui verdict draws mixed reaction

Family members of 9/11 victims offer praise, 'disappointment'

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Abraham Scott became emotional talking about how his daughters miss his "loving and caring" wife.

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Trials
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Zacarias Moussaoui

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) -- Family members of people who died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks offered differing opinions Monday after a federal jury decided that Zacarias Moussaoui is eligible for the death penalty.

The admitted al Qaeda terrorist showed no reaction as the verdict was read, but began screaming at the jurors as he departed the courtroom. "You'll never get my blood," he yelled. "God curse you all."

Six family members of 9/11 victims watched the proceeding.

Outside the courthouse, Abraham Scott said he believes Moussaoui deserves to die. Scott's wife, Janice Marie Scott, was among the victims at the Pentagon.

Scott described Moussaoui -- and other terrorists -- as "like a dog with rabies, one that cannot be cured. And the only cure is to put him or her to the death."

But Carrie Lemack -- whose mother, Judy Larocque, died in the attack -- said she watched coverage of the verdict with other victims' family members, and described the reaction to the verdict as "disappointment."

"Of all of us, only one was happy with the verdict," she said. "We don't want to make him a martyr."

The jury's verdict means the trial, held only to determine Moussaoui's punishment, will proceed to a second phase, with additional witnesses and evidence. The same jurors will decide whether Moussaoui should be executed for his links to the attacks.

Moussaoui, 37, a French national of Moroccan descent, admitted last year that he conspired with al Qaeda to hijack and crash planes into prominent American buildings

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said prosecutors "are not going to have a lot of problems, I suspect, in phase two."

"Phase one was much, much tougher than phase two will be," he said. "This is where the government had a lot of problems."

The focus of the second phase will be the question: "How bad was this crime?" he said.

The jury will be asked to decide if it was "especially heinous, cruel and depraved," he said. "It's going to be very hard to argue that 9/11 was not any of those things." (Full story)

Former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey told CNN he was not surprised at the verdict.

"Moussaoui was doing everything he could to sign his own death wish," he said.

"Just when it looked like the government might not be able to prove its case, Moussaoui took the stand himself, absolutely destroying any hopes he had of avoiding this verdict -- in effect a wannabe suicide bomber who provided suicide testimony."

Lemack said that she regretted the attention that was being given to "an al Qaeda wannabe."

"We feel that he should rot in jail without a platform to spout his anti-American sentiments and without having the notoriety that he is now gaining," she said.

If Moussaoui ultimately receives the death penalty, she said, repeated appeals will cost millions in taxpayer dollars.

"For a lot of us, it's not how we want to spend our energies, focusing on Zacarias Moussaoui," she said. "I'd rather our government spent their time finding Osama bin Laden, for example."

However, Scott said he found some "comfort" in the verdict.

"I love my wife truly and I know that whatever happens to [Moussaoui] will not bring her back, but I do believe that the death of Moussaoui will bring comfort to those families" affected by 9/11, he said.

Scott said that others share the blame with Moussaoui for the terrorist attacks.

"Even though I do believe that he deserves the death penalty, I also equally blame the government for not acting on certain indicators that could have prevented 9/11 from happening," he said.

Rosemary Dillard, whose husband, Eddie, was killed on 9/11, welcomed the jury's decision against Moussaoui.

"This man has no soul. He has no conscience," she said. "So what else could we ask for than this?"

Spokesperson Tara Scolinos said the Justice Department is "pleased with the jury's ruling in this important case."

"Our efforts on behalf of the victims of 9/11 will continue as we pursue the next phase of this trial," she said.

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