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Watching the Moussaoui Trial: The Regenhards

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Sally Regenhard's 28-year-old son Christian was a firefighter just starting out with the New York Fire Department when he was killed on 9/11. Ms. Regenhard thinks the jury was right to find Zacarias Moussaoui eligible for death earlier this week. She traveled to Virginia to watch part of the trial, and sat 20 feet away from Moussaoui in court.

Ms. SALLY REGENHARD (Mother of 9/11 victim): When I was looking at him, I thought to myself, he looks like a demonic gargoyle, just his features, his face. And he had such an evil, evil look to him. And the thing that I was really struck by was that if you looked into his eyes, his eyes were dead. They were just dead eyes. I caught his gaze about three times. I wanted him to look at me, and for that reason I wore a red blouse that day.

I wanted, you know, this sounds a little strange, but I just wanted to represent my son. You know, I wore red, you know, for my son's heart. Red also represents, you know, in some sense, the fire department. You know, even red for the blood of the innocents, you know, that was shed. So I was very, very deliberate, you know, in doing that, and on three occasions, when he just gave this, you know, empty look around, you know, I locked eyes with him. I looked into the face of evil, and I accomplished that part.

BLOCK: It sounds like you're convinced that Zacharias Moussaoui's actions led, in some way, directly to the death of your son. Am I right about that?

Ms. REGENHARD: I feel that he could have, if he did admit who he was and what he was doing, I think at least we would've had a chance. Even though I'm very critical of the bungling of the federal government, the FBI, the CIA, the INS, the DOT, all these agencies that failed, I still feel that if this man had told the truth, that maybe we would've had a chance.

BLOCK: When you though about what the jury is having to think about, what should happen to Zacharias Moussaoui, should he be put to death, should he be sentenced to life in prison, how do you work through that?

Ms. REGENHARD: Well, you know, based on what I heard and plus his very willingness to admit to this, I'm convinced that he does qualify for the death penalty.

BLOCK: Ms. Regenhard, when you think through this question of life or death, and what should happen with Zacarias Moussaoui, do you think about what your son, what Christian would have wanted?

Ms. REGENHARD: I do. I think about my son every day. I just don't know. You know, in some instances I could, you know, I could say what I think he would have wanted. If we were the people who were butchered in a brutal and needless death, maybe he would have had the righteous indignation that I think many of the family members have. I can't make the call.

If I thought that he really would have been against it, I would say it. But I just don't know. This is a subject I just don't know.

BLOCK: That's Sally Regenhard, whose son Christian was killed at the World trade Center on 9-11.

We also heard from Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband was killed there as well. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.