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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Statements From Sniper Shooting Victims' Families

Aired November 17, 2003 - 12:35   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Moving on now to another important story today on the West Coast -- actually, before we do that, let's go back to Virginia Beach. The trial of John Allen Muhammad has wrapped up. In fact, he's guilty on all four counts.
We're getting some statements now from some of the victims families. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... great mom, great wife, great sister. She helped so many people. Whatever their color is, she always helped. She didn't have enough, but she always helped who had less than her. And I lost only my sister, and I miss her so much.

I am glad they found him guilty. And I am still looking for death penalty for justice that he killed not just one, he killed 13 more and many injured, and left behind lots of families. They have to live without their loved ones.

And I would like to thank all the law enforcement and task force, FBI. They worked long, long hours. And thank you for everything. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. I am Josephine Crutcher (ph). I am the older sister of Claudine Lee Parker. And she was one of the second victims that was involved. And I am grateful that they have found him guilty, and that everything that gets Mr. Muhammad and everything off the street so they cannot hurt anybody.

And I am just grateful to the jury and to the prosecutors for what they have done. And again, I say, I am very grateful that they found this -- him guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, hi. I am speaking on behalf of the Walacker (ph) family. At this time, I am very happy to say that I am very pleased with the results of the prosecution and the jury to find Muhammad guilty. And I would also like to thank the Prince William County and the news media and everybody for helping us throughout this phase.

I know it was a big loss for me, as a brother. He was my older brother. That was a tremendous loss for me and my sister-in-law, who lost her husband, and my nephews and nieces, who lost their father.

I know that we cannot bring my brother back, but I think he should be punished for what he did, and so do the -- you know, he killed so many other people. So I would like to thank everybody for being with us. Thanks. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd just like to say that I consider the justice to have been served, and I believe that the prosecution did a masterful job. And those that are responsible to care for us in this jurisdiction, and also the victim advocates, and everyone involved has been wonderful. And it has made our job a lot easier. And I will entertain questions for at least a few minutes, if you would like to ask them.

QUESTION: Would you like to see Mr. Muhammad get the death penalty?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew you were going to ask that. I do have an answer, and that is that I believe that capital punishment is an appropriate response in certain crimes. And I must say that I can't think of too many more heinous crimes than this one. So my conclusion on that would be yes.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. At this time, yes, I feel that he should get the death penalty. Because I think he has done a lot of crime, he's killed a lot of people. So, based on that, I think he should get the death penalty.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It brings back the whole thing back again, you know, like the day it happened. Even though it has been a year, but it's like -- it is still a nightmare to me. You know, I can't believe that he is dead. So it does bring back everything just like it happened yesterday.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was my older brother. I lost my father back in '71. And then after that, he was the father figure for me. So you can imagine that it was a big loss.

QUESTION: His daughter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His daughter (UNINTELLIGIBLE) fulfilled all the dreams that she had and that her father wished. So I am happy about that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly, this is a huge step in the pursuit of closure. But as I said before, I would really doubt that full closure ever comes, because there is always an open wound remaining. But the progress that has been made here, and the steps that have been taken, really have taken us into that process much further than we were before we came to Virginia Beach.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is probably more of a legal question than anything. I don't know the impact of that with respect to the legal side. And since we will be able to make our impact statements, it doesn't really involve us.

But I would say that certainly, everyone has a gaping hole and a story to tell. And if it were appropriate for everyone to be able to express those thoughts, I think it would be a wonderful thing. But maybe it is not practical.

BLITZER: All right. We're going to break away from these statements. You saw the brother of Dean Harold Meyers, who was shot at a gas station October of last year. Shot by John Allen Muhammad, the 42-year-old man convicted today, all four counts: capital murder, terrorism, conspiracy, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The penalty phase begins at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. In other words, victims families, especially the family members of Dean Harold Meyers, will be allowed to make statements. There will be other presentations before the jury to determine whether John Allen Muhammad should serve life in prison or get the death sentence. We'll continue to monitor that.

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