Moussaoui jury completes sixth day without verdict
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Jurors in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui completed their sixth day of deliberations Tuesday without deciding whether the Sept. 11 conspirator should be executed or sentenced to life in prison.The nine men and three women went home after 6 3/4 hours of work Tuesday, bringing their total deliberations so far to 35 1/4 hours. They are to return Wednesday morning.Meanwhile, a transcript unsealed Tuesday revealed that the jurors decided to knock off work early this week – at 1:15 p.m. Thursday – so one juror can attend his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary out of state and another juror can attend his daughter’s induction into the National Junior Honor Society.Judge Leonie Brinkema advised lawyers in the case: “Don’t assume from this that the jury will necessarily go to Friday,” according to the transcript of a telephone conference Monday afternoon. Her phone conference with the lawyers was prompted by notes from the jury asking for what the forewoman called “two special considerations for this week.”The jury had been setting its schedule one day at a time, but late Monday it released a schedule that went through May 8 and included the early departure Thursday and a day off Friday. Some surmised then that the jurors were settling in for long deliberations.But Brinkema told the lawyers Monday, “I don’t really know why they sent this (note) to us this early in the week, but, you know, obviously, they’re trying to, I guess, make sure they’re organized for the week.”With the agreement of prosecutors and defense attorneys, Brinkema advised the jury it was allowed to set its own work schedule.The jurors have given few clues about their decision-making process. They have asked only one question – a request for a dictionary that was denied by the judge.Later Brinkema learned that one juror – the same man whose daughter is being inducted into the honor society – had consulted a dictionary for the meaning of “aggravating,” so she gave them a legal and dictionary definition of the term used to describe evidence that makes a death sentence more appropriate. And she told them again to ask her questions rather than do their own research.The jury is weighing 10 aggravating factors and 23 mitigating factors in the evidence introduced during the six-week trial to decide whether Moussaoui deserves execution or life behind bars without the possibility of release.Jury consultants warn against reading too much into the length of deliberations but believe the chance of a death sentence diminishes with each passing day.Moussaoui is the only person in this country charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The jury earlier found him eligible for execution by determining that his actions caused at least one death that day. Although Moussaoui was in jail on Sept. 11, the jury ruled that lies he told federal agents when he was arrested in August 2001 on immigration violations kept federal agents from identifying and stopping some of the hijackers.Vail, Colorado
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