Reaction to Lockerbie bomber's death from two South Jersey families who lost daughters
May 21, 2012 (Menafn - The Philadelphia Inquirer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --After the only man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing was reported to have died Sunday, two South Jersey families who lost daughters that day were left to wonder if anyone else would be brought to justice.
Susan Cohen of Cape May Court House and Stan Maslowski of Haddonfield say there are lingering questions about who else was responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that exploded over Scotland, killing 259 onboard and 11 on the ground.
Cohen -- whose daughter Theodora, 20, a Syracuse University theater major, was among the dead -- worries that the U.S. and British governments will see the death of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi as an excuse to stop investigating the bombing.
"I want the U.S. government to look into who else was involved in this," she said.
Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, was jailed for the bombing in 2001, but insisted he had nothing to do with it. He was allowed to return home in 2009 after doctors said he would die of prostate cancer within three months.
Cohen thinks he should have gotten the death penalty, not a comfortable death in Libya with his family. "My daughter," she said, "died a gruesome, horrible death."
She felt "joy" when Moammar Gadhafi died in 2011, she said, "because he was the real killer." What she felt for Megrahi was more muted. But at 74, she is glad to have outlived him. She said she "would like to have killed him on the spot" at his trial.
She scoffed at the idea of closure. She is still angry and said she always would be. Her life has gone on after the death of her only child, but she has not recovered. "It destroys you," she said. "It destroyed me 23 years ago. . . . It takes the heart out of you, and there is no escape from that."
Maslowski, whose daughter Diane, 30, a bond trader, died on the plane, said he heard about Megrahi's death just before 8 a.m. It brought back all the old emotions.
"We'll remember it till the day we die," he said.
He wonders if all the guilty parties will ever be caught. He said Megrahi's death might bring closure, but sounded unconvinced.
New Jersey's two U.S. senators, both Democrats, who had strongly opposed Megrahi's release, vowed that investigations into the bombing would continue. "I know that justice has not been fully served, and I intend to continue to fight to ensure all leads are pursued, so that we find the truth," Sen. Robert Menendez said in a statement. "I will judge the Libyan government by their commitment to assist us with access to the files and people left from the ousted [Gadhafi] regime, so that justice can be finally served."
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who served on a presidential commission that investigated the bombing and played a role in securing compensation for the victims' families, said Megrahi "died with American blood on his hands and will always be remembered as a murderer."
Contact Stacey Burling at 215-854-4944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article contains information from the Associated Press.
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