Moussaoui Spared Death Penalty

An Alexandria, Virginia jury has decided that Zacarias Moussaoui does not deserve the death penalty for his role in the 9/11 bombings that killed nearly 3000 people.

A federal jury decided Wednesday al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui deserves life in prison for his role in the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history, on Sept. 11, 2001. On the seventh day of deliberation, the jury of nine men and three women informed Judge Leonie Brinkema that it had reached a decision. The verdict was announced at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Moussaoui, a 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent, is the only person charged in this country in connection with the suicide jetliner hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

The verdict came after four years of legal maneuvering and a six-week trial that put jurors on an emotional roller coaster. The panel of northern Virginia residents was shown gruesome never-before-released images of the carnage that day, heard the first public playing of the cockpit recorder from United Flight 93 whose passengers tried to retake the jet over Pennsylvania, and watched and listened as dozens of victims and relatives described the horrors and losses they had endured. (AP)

Incredible. If Moussaoui doesn’t deserve to die for his crimes, almost no one currently on death row does. Those who argue that the current system of capital punishment is arbitrary and capricious have much more ammunition now.


    Rusty Shackleford: “Moussaoui deserved death. This is a travesty of justice.” and “I’ve got news for Moussaoui: watch your back in prison.”

    John Stevenson: “On the bright side, he will not be getting his wish to meet Allah, and become a martyr.”

WaPo has a roundup of previous Moussaoui stories.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven Plunk says:

    The death penalty is what he wanted so he could become a martyr. Denying him that is a form of justice.

    While he clearly deserved to die, the life in prison verdict may be the best for our country. Society is passing judgement here and as such society may deem not creating a poster child for terrorists a good thing. If given death the appeals would have taken forever and we would see his face on TV for many more years.

    Perhaps he will be killed in prison and therefore not be a martyr but just the pathetic human being that he is.

  2. agoh says:

    no one currently on death row does.

    The majority of the world’s countries have abolished the practice of capital punishment.

    Perhaps the jurors are rejecting the barbarism epitomized by terrorists like Moussaoui in favor of an affirmation of a civilized culturre of life?

  3. Herb says:

    Well, we done it again. We let a foreigner who came to this country to kill us, off the hook with all the aid and help of a Federal Judge who told the jury how to reach a verdict with a forty two page list of instructions. Justice, Yeah, we sure have it in this country and we have the bastardization of our laws and Constitution to prove it and with judges who act like they and they alone are the law and to hell with what the people think. How many times have we seen such blatant use of individualized power?
    The jury in this case, if they were true Americans, should have told the Judge to take her 42 page document and “Stick It” and that they and they alone would decide the verdict.

    Now the taxpayer, who is on a “Death List” from the likes of Moussaoui, will continue to “pay the Price” to keep this scum behind bars for life or until some other Federal Judge decides to let him go free. And from what I have seen from Federal Judges, I would not doubt it, if it happened.

    Well Mr. and Mrs. taxpayer, get ready to spend several more Millions of dollars to provide him with with all the “American Hospitality” we can give him, at your expense, of course.

    Isn’t it ironic that our Federal Judges let the killing of a helpless individual go forward, without the benefit of a full judicial review as requested many times, and we give animals like Moussaoui every benefit, review and assistance that can, or could be, provided.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m relieved. Perhaps this will reduce the likelihood of the ball being kept up in the air.

  5. hugh says:
  6. Dave Schuler says:

    They were thinking that giving a suicide bomber the death penalty is pretty strange.

  7. I support capital punishment, but I think this is the right verdict. Moussaoui didn’t kill anyone, so the death penalty would have been unjust in his case. And justice is what we want from a jury, not vengeance.

  8. The American Taxpayer = Moussaoui’s Sugar-Daddy

    That’s just great.

  9. ICallMasICM says:

    Countdown to the first Free Moo-sow-ee sighting


  10. yakziry says:

    A person who helped kill 3,000 people I believe should have gotten the death penalty. We should not spare someones life when he wasn’t willing to spare thousands of innocent lives. If he would have cooperated with the FBI those lives would have been saved but he chose to go the other way. I was given the assignment by my CWP teacher to agree or disagree with the verdict. As you have read i totally disagree and why should we waste our tax money to support a terrorist stay alive in a cell for the rest of his life?

  11. Jeremy Hymes-Balsley says:

    Hey, he didn’t deserve death because he WANTED death. You don’t give criminals what they want. You give them what they don’t want!

    Now, he’ll be denied being a martyr. Instead, he’s just a common criminal doing life for, at the least, being stupid enough to claim he was involved with 9/11, and at worst, actually being a part of it.