BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The families of Margaret Walier Seeliger and Leonard Castrianno say the pain is still very real more than two decades on. But, they have differing views on the possibility of the suspected 9/11 architects escaping the death penalty.
Horrific scenes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are still fresh in the minds of those who lost their loved ones.
Paul Walier of Hamburg lost his sister Margaret that morning — she was just 34 years old.
He remembers her as the life of the party and someone with a good heart.
“She is sorely missed and it still hurts,” Walier told News 4. “She was just a real benefit to society, I’ll put it that way. She was a good person to have on this planet.”
Margaret worked for Aon Insurance on the 101st floor of the south tower.
“We were trying to get a hold of her on her cell phone,” added Walier. “Her husband who is an attorney also was trying to make some calls and knew some political people down there to see what was going on. And then I got in the car the very next day to drive down to New York a lot of us did. People were putting up posters of missing families. And then she was gone.”
The Walier family recently received a letter from the Pentagon. It outlined a possible plea deal for the suspected mastermind of 9/11 and four other defendants.
Under the agreement, the five men would accept criminal responsibility for their actions and plead guilty. In exchange, they wouldn’t face the death penalty.
“It’s basically a disgrace,” said Walier. “I mean, why have a federal death penalty if you don’t use it in a case like this? I mean this is about as drastic as you can get.”
Walier says his family wholeheartedly disagrees with any potential plea bargain.
“We think they should be tried, have their day in court, and let the people in charge whether it be a jury or judge decide if they get death,” said Walier.
Lynn Castrianno is the sister of Leonard Castrianno. He was originally from Williamsville and lost his life in the World Trade Center. She received that same letter.
“One of the things about Leonard,” said Castrianno. “He had a great sense of humor and he could tell a story like nobody could. He would have us in stitches telling stories about different things in his life.”
Leonard was an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald working on the 104th floor of the north tower that day.
“On that day, a number of us were trying to get a hold of him,” added Castrianno. “None of us were successful. We called his desk phone, we called his cellphone nothing was happening.”
When it comes to a possible plea deal Castrianno said she’s okay with it.
“I honestly feel that the death penalty lets them off the hook,” said Castrianno. “I think it’s far worse to live in a confined space and not have access to those you love and those who can support you.”
Both Walier and Castrianno said that as the twenty-second anniversary of the attacks approaches, they want people to truly never forget.
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