ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A jury is now deliberating behind closed doors whether Zacarias Moussaoui lives or dies.
Jurors got the case around 2:30 p.m. EDT Monday after spending the morning listening to closing arguments in the death penalty phase for the confessed Al Qaeda conspirator Al Qaeda conspirator. Even if a decision is reached, the formal sentencing will not be read until Tuesday.
Prosecutors argued Monday that "there is no place on this good Earth for Zacarias Moussaoui," while defense lawyers pleaded with jurors to send Moussaoui to prison for life — "the long slow death of a common criminal" — rather than give him the martyrdom he seeks through execution.
Moussaoui's lawyers are hoping to convince the jury to sentence their client to life in prison without parole, instead of death row. The jury already ruled in phase one of this case that the French-born terrorist is eligible for execution since his actions — or lack thereof — contributed to the death of at least one person on Sept. 11.
The question now is whether he deserves to die. The judge will be bound to impose their decision.
The unrepentant conspirator, who never cooperated with his lawyers, said during a recess after defense arguments: "Our children will carry on the fight."
"It is time to put an end to all this," said prosecutor David Raskin told the jury Monday. "It is time to put an end to his hatred and venom."
Raskin pointed out how Moussaoui, 37, mocked the testimony of Sept. 11 victims and their families throughout the trial.
"The defendant rejoices in all that pain. He told you that himself," Raskin said. "He loved it because he was responsible for it. He loved it because it meant to him, mission accomplished."
'How Many People Have to Die?'
Prosecutor David Novak suggested to the jury that some of the "big fish" plotters such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — who planned the attacks — and Ramzi bin Al-Sheib will have their day in court "when the interrogation time is over."
Novak urged the jury to vote for death. "This is the United States of America and we are not going to put up with a bunch of thugs who in the name of religion have slaughtered 3,000 Americans," he said.
He replayed some of the horrific photos and videos that jurors had seen during witness testimony, including a burned body in a wrecked Pentagon office and body parts at the base of the World Trade Center.
"If not this case, then when is a death sentence appropriate?" he asked. "How many people have to die?"
Moussaoui's wishes are irrelevant, Novak told the jury. "Nothing in the jury instructions will tell you to try to figure out what the defendant wants and give him the opposite."
A key aspect of the case is Moussaoui's mental health. His lawyers put on the stand a psychiatrist named Dr. Michael First, who testified that Moussaoui is delusional and has diagnosed the terrorists as being paranoid schizophrenic. As an example, First talked about Moussaoui's belief that President Bush is going to set him free before he leaves office.
But last Thursday, prosecutors put their own mental health expert on the stand, a forensic psychiatrist named Dr. Raymond Patterson. Patterson is the one who has actually spent the most time with Moussaoui and said he suffers from a personality disorder, but not schizophrenia or another major disease.
Prosecutor David Raskin urged the jurors to reject defense arguments that Moussaoui is mentally ill and to brush off any hesitation that they would be giving him what he wants by deciding on execution. "He wants you to think Usama bin Laden will be mad at us," Raskin said. "Do you think Usama bin Laden gives a damn about what happens here? ... That is a joke."
Raskin said: "It is time to put an end to all this. It is time to put an end to his hatred and venom."
Even if the jury believes Moussaoui is schizophrenic, they can still decide to execute him. In many trials, proof of mental illness is a determining factor in what happens to a defendant, but it this case it is just one of many factors the jury will be asked to weigh.
The defense had presented evidence of Moussaoui's shattering treatment as a child born in France of Moroccan descent, of his father's and uncle's violence in his home and of mental illness rampant in his family.
Raskin said none of that excused his conduct. "What could possibly mitigate all of this? Did you hear anything that even remotely counterbalances all the aggravating evidence?"
Specifically, Raskin rejected the defense argument that Moussaoui is a schizophrenic.
"Just because we can't comprehend this kind of evil, doesn't mean he suffers a mental illness. We will never understand evil like this," Raskin said.
Moussaoui is the only person in this country charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Although he was in jail on the day of the actual attacks, the jury earlier ruled that lies he told federal agents when he was arrested in August 2001 on immigration violations allowed the plot to go forward.
During the last six weeks of the trial, prosecutors emphasized the emotional impact of Sept. 11 on victims and their families.
They presented testimony from dozens victim-impact witnesses whose testimony often left jurors in tears. Emotions switched from sorrow to rage when prosecutors cross-examined Moussaoui, who mocked the victims' testimony and took glee in the aftermath of the attacks.
Moussaoui had previously taken the stand and claimed he was to have piloted a fifth plane on Sept. 11, after years of denying a role in the attacks.
Defense lawyer Gerald Zerkin said Moussaoui's contempt for the victims and the trial "is proof that he wants you to sentence him to death. He is baiting you into it. He came to America to die in jihad and you are his last chance."
Zerkin said the jury can instead "confine him to a miserable existence until he dies and give him not the death of a jihadist ... but the long slow death of a common criminal."
Zerkin also asked jurors to keep an eye on history, noting that even in the Nuremberg trials after World War II, only 11 death sentences were handed out for "the worst atrocities in the history of man."
He said Moussaoui is "a veritable caricature of an Al Qaeda terrorist" and "the only Al Qaeda operative inept enough to be captured before 9/11."
"This is about history, it is about how our justice system responded to the worst terrorist attack on our soil," Zerkin said.
Moussaoui said during a brief recess, "Never get me, America," and, as he later left the courtroom, said, "there is more than one way to skin an American pig."
FOX News' Mike Emanuel, Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.