USS Cole dads' opinions differ on death sentences

September 30, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The father of a sailor killed during the bombing of the USS Cole nearly four years ago said he does not believe the two men sentenced to death for their involvement in the attack should be executed.

The father of another local man who died in the Cole bombing said he believed that death by firing squad for the men was "absolutely appropriate."

Washington County residents Michael Roy and Tom Wibberley said they were informed Wednesday that two men were sentenced to death during a proceeding in Yemen.


Jamal al-Badawi, 35, a Yemeni, and Saudi-born Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were ordered executed for plotting the attack by two suicide bombers who blew up an explosives-laden boat next to the Cole as it refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000.

The attack killed 17 sailors aboard the Cole and wounded 40 others.

Fireman Patrick Roy, 19, of Keedysville, and Seaman Craig Wibberley, 19, of Williamsport, died in the attack.

Michael Roy said he does not believe a death sentence was the proper punishment. He said the most fitting punishment for the men is beyond him.

"I don't believe in capital punishment and execution," Roy said. "It brings no peace or comfort for me. I don't think it solves anything."

Roy said the decision to execute the men only "perpetuates violence."

Tom Wibberley said he was pleased to hear the news Wednesday.

"They killed my son and 16 other sailors," Wibberley said. "The only thing they were in that area for was to try to keep peace in the world."

Wibberley said he hopes anyone found to be involved with the Cole bombing is subjected to the same punishment.

Wibberley said the news that the death penalty is to be imposed has not brought him closure.

"I don't feel that I'll ever have closure because the day has not come that I don't think about losing my son," Wibberley said.

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