MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Audrey Bergstrom finally has someone to blame for the death of her only son. But what she really wants to know is why he had to die at all.
The mother of a 22-year-old Army sergeant killed in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, Bergstrom had waited 12 years for the news she received at 4 a.m. Wednesday as she watched CNN: A Scottish court convicted Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi of murder. A second Libyan, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted.
But she fears she'll never know what motivated the bombing that killed 270 people.
"(The conviction) helps, but I would still like to know why it was done," Bergstrom said from her home in Minnesota. Bergstrom, who called The Associated Press in response to a request through her attorney, would not identify her home town. She called within minutes of the verdict.
Sgt. Phillip V. Bergstrom had been stationed in Wiesbaden, West Germany, when he was called home on emergency leave because his father was scheduled for heart surgery. On Dec. 21, 1988 -- his 22nd birthday -- Sgt. Bergstrom boarded the New-York bound flight at London's Heathrow Airport.
When a small package of plastic explosives aboard the plane detonated at 31,000 feet, the aircraft was ripped apart, sending Bergstrom and 258 other passengers and crew to their deaths. Another 11 were killed on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland, by falling wreckage. One hundred eighty-nine Americans were among the dead.
Wednesday's verdict was the climax of an $80 million trial and nearly nine months of hearings at a special court in the Netherlands. U.S. officials said they will continue to investigate.
Phillip Bergstrom was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart in 1989, but his mother said she doesn't feel like he ever had the chance to earn it like he would have wanted to.
"When you are dying for your country, you fight back," Audrey Bergstrom said. "You're not up 31,000 feet in an airplane where you don't have a choice. We say our son was held hostage, and then he was murdered."
Audrey Bergstrom's husband, Phillip B. Bergstrom, suffered a stroke in December 1999 that she blamed on stress leading up to the trial. His left side has been impaired since then. The Bergstroms have a daughter, Pennie Darwin, 35, and a grandson.
They will now await a civil case against Libya that was on hold while the criminal case was pending. Jim Kreindler, a New York attorney who will help press that claim on behalf of 105 victims' families, said the lawsuit in a New York federal court seeks billions in compensatory and punitive damages.
The Bergstroms shared in a $500 million settlement of a lawsuit by victims' families against Pan Am. Audrey Bergstrom would not say what their share was, only that it was not enough.
The Bergstroms are also waiting for the return of their son's belongings: a duffel bag, clothing, Swiss dancing dolls, a razor, and a briefcase he carried to class.
Audrey Bergstrom also said they'll be waiting for friends and relatives to accept that their grief has no end.
"I had a friend who is against war, who told me that he deserved to die," she said. "And I said, 'How can you say that?' It hurt. It hurt deeply. And now we're not friends anymore."
She said after her husband's stroke in 1999, she found herself doing double-duty around the house, and has dropped from a size 14 to a size seven in the past year because of the strain.
"My husband and I wanted to know who did it. Now what we want to know is why. And I don't think we'll ever know why."
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