Togther in Grief, Apart in Justice - NBC New York

Togther in Grief, Apart in Justice

Two New Yorkers who both lost family on 9/11 have differnt opinions on trial decision



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    Charles Wolf lost his wife in the September 11, 2001 attacks, and thinks that a military court should handle the trial of the planners.

    They share the grief of a loved one killed on 9/11 but disagree on justice for the attack's mastermind and four alleged accomplices.

    News that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others will be tried in Manhattan federal court alarmed widower Charles Wolf, 55, but pleased retired FDNY chief James Riches, 59, who lost his namesake son, also a firefighter.

    Wolf, whose wife Katherine, 40, perished on the 97th floor of Tower One, wants the alleged terrorists tried in the military system, fearing the civilian courts may throw out much of evidence against them.

    "Three thousand people killed in one morning here in the United States, including my wife," said Wolf, a businessman who lives in Greenwich Village.  "We needed to know things at that time and things were done that probably wouldn't stand up in a civilian court very well."

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    Chief Riches, however, says he's lost patience with the military system these past eight years, so he supports President Obama's policy to try the alleged terrorists in civilian courts.  The chief spent months sifting through the Ground Zero rubble recovering bodies, including the remains of his 29-year-old-son, Jimmy.

    "I picked up the body parts down there and saw all the pieces," said Riches.  "I saw what they did to all the people who died.  There's a 1,000 people no bodies, nothing.  I think we deserve for him to get the death penalty."

    Wolf on the other hand plans to push elected leaders to stop the civilian trials. "There's all kind of technicalities that a good defense lawyer can bring up to get him off.  And what would we look like then?  We'll be the laughingstock," he said.

    Riches meanwhile said he plans to attend the proceedings.

    "It's eight years later, we have no justice," he said.  "Our sons are dead for eight years."