Khadr to widow: ‘I’m really, really sorry’

Omar Khadr takes the stand and formally apologizes to widow Tabitha Speer during his military commission trial in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba October 28, 2010

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA—Omar Khadr directly apologized to the widow of the soldier he confessed to killing in Afghanistan and told a war crimes court Thursday that he is not angry, and wants to be a doctor if released.

“I’m really, really sorry for the pain I’ve caused you and your family. I wish I could do something that would take this pain away from you,” he said, standing in the witness box and looking at the widow of U.S. Delta Force soldier Christopher Speer.

Khadr told the court that he decided to plead guilty to “take responsibility for the acts I’ve done.”

Speer’s widow Tabitha Speer shook her head as Khadr spoke, gripping the arm rests of her chair.

Since Khadr’s comments were given as an unsworn statement, Pentagon prosecutors were unable to cross-examine him.

The day had begun with nearly an hour of testimony from Tabitha Speer, who talked about the devastating impact of her husband’s death.

She also looked directly at Khadr across the courtroom and told the Canadian detainee what she thought of him.

“You’ll forever be a murderer in my eyes. It doesn’t matter what you say from this day on,” she said, her voice unwavering.

Khadr had his head bowed, as he had for most of Thursday morning’s hearing, but raised his eyes to meet hers as she told him how he had deprived her two children of their father.

Her testimony that had brought many spectators here to tears, as Speer’s widow read out letters her children wrote and pictures of her husband flashed across a court video screen.

Khadr, now 24, pleaded guilty to throwing a grenade that fatally wounded Speer during a firefight in Afghanistan when Khadr was 15.

Tabitha Speer was testifying Thursday as part of Khadr’s sentencing hearing. She looked directly at the seven-member military jury as she described how much she missed her husband’s smile and love of life.

She read from a letter her daughter Taryn, who was 3 when Speer was fatally wounded in July 2002, wrote to Khadr.

“I am mad at you for what you did to my family. Because of you my dad never got to see me play soccer,” she read, her voice breaking.

Her 8-year-old son, Tanner, concluded his letter to Khadr saying: “Army rocks. Bad guys suck.”

The sentencing hearing continues.

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