ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Jurors in the Zacarias Moussaoui case completed a third day of deliberations Wednesday without deciding whether the Sept. 11 conspirator should be executed or imprisoned for life.
After 6 1/4 hours of work on Wednesday, the nine men and three women had deliberated for 16 hours over three days. They were to return Thursday morning.
Jurors have asked only one question — a request on Tuesday for a dictionary. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema denied the request, saying that giving them a dictionary would be like placing extraneous evidence in the jury room. She said jurors could submit a written question if they needed specific definitions.
The jury has only two choices: death or life in prison without possibility of release. If jurors cannot reach a unanimous decision, Brinkema automatically will sentence him to life.
Earlier this month, this jury found Moussaoui eligible for execution. Although Moussaoui was in jail on immigration charges on Sept. 11, the jury ruled that lies he told federal agents in the month before Sept. 11 kept them from identifying and stopping some of the hijackers.
Moussaoui pleaded guilty in April 2005 to conspiring with Al Qaeda to fly jetliners into U.S. buildings. But he denied, as he had for four years, having any role in the Sept. 11 attacks. At his guilty plea, he said he was to fly a 747 jetliner into the White House at some later date if the U.S. refused to release a radical Egyptian sheik imprisoned for other terrorist crimes.
During the trial, Moussaoui stunned the courtroom by testifying for the first time that he was to have hijacked a fifth plane on Sept. 11 and flown it into the White House.