Jury Decides Moussaoui Is Eligible for Execution

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A lone protestor carries a placard while shouting "defend America from the terrorists".

A lone protestor carries a placard while shouting "defend America from the terrorists" as police stand guard at the Bryan U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Jurors in the death-penalty trial of Zacarias Moussaoui decide the confessed al-Qaida terrorism conspirator should be eligible for execution. Moussaoui is the only person to face charges in a U.S. court in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.

In finding him eligible for execution, jurors decided that Moussaoui was responsible for at least one death in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There will now be a second phase of the trial to determine if he is, in fact, sentenced to death, or is sent to prison for life. A death sentence would have to be a unanimous vote by jurors.

The death-penalty trial has two steps: one to decide if execution should be considered, and another to determine if it should be applied. If the jury had decided that Moussaoui should not face the death penalty, he would have been sentenced to a life term. Melissa Block talks with NPR's Laura Sullivan.

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