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Saturday, June 20, 1998 Published at 23:35 GMT 00:35 UK

World: Americas

Jurors visit Oklahoma bombing site

Jurors left their own personal memorial at the site

The BBC's Jason Dasey reports from Oklahoma:

In the United States, members of the jury who convicted Timothy McVeigh, one of the Oklahoma City bombers, have made an emotional visit to the scene of the explosion which took place three years ago.

The jurors from Colorado were invited to Oklahoma City by the victims and survivors of the bombing.

But the unusual meeting has been criticised by Timothy McVeigh's former lawyer.

The 16 jurors received a heroes' welcome after taking the one-hour flight from Denver to Oklahoma City, meeting for the first time the victims and survivors who had testified during last year's trial.

The jury members had sat through graphic and emotional testimony and wanted to see for themselves the site where 168 people died and more than 500 were injured.

[ image: A moment of quiet reflection]
A moment of quiet reflection
In a ceremony across the street from where the Alfred P Murrah building was bombed, the jurors were presented with flowers and thanked by Frank Keating, the Governor of Oklahoma.

The Govenor said: "You, ladies and gentlemen, till the day you die will be a member of our family, we will never forget you; we will always honour you; we will always appreciate the honourable things, the challenging and the difficult decisions you made."

Earlier, the jurors planted a tree at the Oklahoma State Capital Building and walked around the fence which surrounds the scene of the bombing.

A public park is planned for where the federal building once stood.

Timothy McVeigh's former lawyer, Stephen Jones, has described the visit as "inappropriate".

He says it indicates the jurors may have acted on their emotions rather than the evidence.

McVeigh is being held at a prison in Colorado as his lawyers appeal against his death sentence by lethal injection.

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