Convicted 9-11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui has been spared the death penalty. Moussaoui, the only person convicted in a US court for the September 11 attacks, should go to prison for life rather than be executed for his role in the hijacking plot, a jury decided on Wednesday.
The verdict was read by a court spokesman outside the US federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia – close to the Pentagon – scene of one of the September 11 attacks. The jury, which had deliberated for 41 hours, was finally unable to agree whether the death penalty should be imposed.
Federal prosecutors had argued Moussaoui’s failure to warn law enforcement officers who detained him about the upcoming attacks made him as guilty as if he had carried them out himself. Not all members of the jury of nine men and three women, who last month found Moussaoui eligible for execution, agreed. The law requires a unanimous verdict for a sentence of death.
The 37-year-old French citizen of Moroccan descent sat praying silently as he listened to the judge reading the verdict. As he left the courtroom, he shouted “America you lost – I won.” Moussaoui will be formally sentenced today.