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Parents of W.Va. woman killed in Lockerbie crash trust jurors

by Jennifer Bundy

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHARLESTON -- The parents of a West Virginia woman killed in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, have mixed feelings about Wednesday's mixed verdict in the trial of two men accused of blowing up the plane.

A panel of Scottish High Court judges, sitting in Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, convicted Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi of murder in the bombing 12 years ago but acquitted a second man, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.

"Why they convicted one and couldn't convict the other is beyond me," said Loulie Canady of Morgantown, president of Families of Pan Am 103-Lockerbie.

Her husband, William Canady, quickly added, "We haven't got the whole story yet, either. ... They have to go on what they have."

They said they have confidence in the Scottish legal system.

"It was a very difficult decision for the Scottish judges," Mrs. Canady said.

"They had an awful job to sit there and listen to it and then go back and over 10,000 pages of testimony. Put yourself in their shoes. I couldn't walk in them. I couldn't even try," Mrs. Canady said. "It think they went according to law. It was not personal. They don't work that way.

"If it weren't for the Scottish officials we would not be where we are today. They have been absolutely superb, which I can't say for our own people," Mrs. Canady said. The Canadys were especially critical of American foreign service officials in Scotland, whom Canady said were "rude and ugly."

The Canadys are still struggling with the loss of their only child. Valerie Canady had bachelors degrees in business and economics and Spanish and a masters degree in public administration, all with top honors. She was working for H.J. Heinz in London and was returning home to be married when she was killed.

"It's not in the order of things to have your child go before you do," Mrs. Canady said.

She and her husband, a retired professor at West Virginia University's medical school, have established the Valerie Canady Charitable Trust Foundation. It gives two or three scholarships each year to top students who are fluent in a second language.

Mrs. Canady said organized groups of Lockerbie survivors have splintered over the years. Some have as few as two or three members.

"It's become so painful it's become easier to not be so solid," Mrs. Canady said. Also, "It's exceedingly expensive. People move. It's become acrimonious because of disagreements in strategy."

The truth about who ordered the bombing and is ultimately responsible may never be known, the Canadys said.

"It's not clear the people who instigated it have been called to task. These people did not do it on their own," Canady said.

Mrs. Canady said, "The entire world is very vulnerable to these people. They can attack any time, any where."

The Canady's said airport and airline security has become too lax.

"I don't think it's fair to the people who fly, the crews," Mrs. Canady said.

Her husband added, "The FAA has not implemented the laws that were passed by Congress."

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