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The BBC's David Willis
"It is not certain whether the court will agree to hear the appeal"
 real 56k

John Ashcroft, attorney general
"Today our judicial system exercised its responsibility"
 real 28k

Joel Cohen, legal specialist
"His recourse is to go to the US Court of Appeals"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 22:46 GMT 23:46 UK
McVeigh execution to go ahead
Timothy McVeigh
Timothy McVeigh: On death row in Indiana
A US federal judge has ruled that the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh will go ahead as planned on Monday.


Timothy McVeigh was the instrument of death and destruction

Judge Matsch

Judge Richard Matsch, who presided over McVeigh's trial, told the hearing in Denver, Colorado, that there would be no stay of execution.

McVeigh's lawyers immediately filed an appeal against the execution ruling with the 10th district court.

Depending on how the Denver-based appeals court rules, either McVeigh or the Justice Department probably will take the case to the US Supreme Court.

Now what?
6 June: McVeigh's lawyers file appeal
First step: 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals
Second step: US Supreme Court
11 June: Date for execution
However observers say that great store will be set against Judge Matsch's decision, and it is unlikely that the higher courts will choose to overturn it.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft hailed the decision to proceed with the execution as a "ruling for justice".

"I believe the ruling of the court makes unmistakably clear that we not only have a guilty defendant but that the fairness and innocence of the system is sufficient and is complete, and that it merits the trust and confidence of the American people," he said.

'Praying'

Gulf War veteran McVeigh, 33, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Monday for the 1995 bombing of a federal building that killed 168 people and injured hundreds of others.

Some survivors and relatives of those killed expressed relief at the decision.


I've been praying all along that they go through with it.

Survivor Sue Ashford
"I'm ready. I've been ready since [the bombing on] 19 April 1995," said blast survivor Sue Ashford, who has been chosen by lottery to attend the execution.

"I've been praying all along that they go through with it."

But others were more sceptical. Jannie Coverdale, who lost two sons in the bombing, said McVeigh and fellow conspirator Terry Nichols did not plan it alone.

"I'm wondering now that if Tim is executed, will we ever know?" she said.

"We have been fighting so long for the truth. I have no confidence in the government now."

'Instrument of death'

Judge Matsch said the newly released documents did not change the fact that McVeigh was guilty and that therefore there was no good reason to delay the execution.

Execution chamber at Terre Haute prison, Indiana
McVeigh faces death by lethal injection
"Whatever in time may be disclosed about the possible [actions] of others it will not change the fact that Timothy McVeigh was the instrument of death and destruction."

McVeigh's execution had been set initially for 16 May. But it was postponed after the Justice Department handed in about 4,000 FBI documents it admitted should have been given to McVeigh's lawyers during his trial.

Conspiracy claims

In papers filed before the hearing, McVeigh's lawyers said the government "misled" the court.

Alfred P Murrah Federal Building after bombing
It was the worst ever mass killing on US soil
They said the government was aware that others were involved in the bombing and that the FBI knew about the bomb plot in advance.

Federal prosecutors had been opposing calls for a further stay of execution.

Prosecutor Sean Connelly said the newly released documents did not have any bearing on McVeigh's conviction and sentence.

In the past, McVeigh has waived opportunities to appeal, believing his execution would help publicise his anti-government crusade.

McVeigh's execution will be the first carried out on a federal prisoner in 38 years.

McVeigh said the bombing - the worst act of mass killing in modern US history - was motivated by anti-government rage, including retribution for the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas.

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See also:

06 Jun 01 | Americas
Spotlight on US death penalty
04 Jun 01 | Americas
Prosecutors oppose McVeigh delay
29 May 01 | Americas
McVeigh stay of execution sought
22 May 01 | Americas
McVeigh's legal team beefed up
16 May 01 | Americas
FBI admits McVeigh blunder
11 May 01 | Americas
Oklahoma bombing: The background
31 May 01 | Americas
McVeigh's on-off date with death
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