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The BBC's Tom Carver in Denver
"For the second time McVeigh is preparing to die"
 real 56k

Friday, 8 June, 2001, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
McVeigh 'ready to die'
Timothy McVeigh
Relatives of the victims will witness McVeigh's death
The Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, is making final preparations for his execution and is ready to die, according to his lawyers.

They have announced that he will not exercise his right to appeal to the US Supreme Court for a stay of execution.


He has family and friends that he must say his goodbyes to, the kind of introspection and psychological preparation he has to go through only he can know and other people in his position can know

McVeigh lawyer, Rob Nigh
The decision not to continue with legal proceedings follows a ruling by the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeal in Denver, Colorado, that his execution should go ahead as planned on Monday.

McVeigh will be executed by lethal injection for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred Murrah federal building that killed 168 people and left hundreds injured.

He may be moved on Friday from his cell in Terre Haute's federal prison to the execution building.

Preparations

McVeigh is now prepared to die, according to one of his lawyers, Rob Nigh.

"He has family and friends that he must say his goodbyes to, the kind of introspection and psychological preparation he has to go through only he can know and other people in his position can know."

Execution chamber at Terre Haute prison, Indiana
McVeigh will die on Monday by lethal injection
The media and the relatives of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing are also making themselves ready for the execution.

Media teams are preparing to broadcast from the scene, with power cables linked to at least 30 office trailers set up by national news organisations.

More than 25 people will watch McVeigh die from four separate rooms with direct views into the execution chamber. These include:

  • Ten survivors of the attack, or relatives of the victims, chosen by lottery
  • Ten members of the media
  • Five people chosen by McVeigh: the novelist Gore Vidal, Lou Michel, co-author of a book about the bomber, and three defence attorneys
  • An unspecified number of government officials

Hundreds of others will watch the execution from Oklahoma City on closed circuit television.

Relief

Relatives welcomed the news that McVeigh will not appeal further or ask for clemency from the president.

Paul Howell, whose daughter died in the bombing, said he was relieved to hear that McVeigh would not appeal to the Supreme Court.

Alfred P Murrah Federal Building after bombing
It was the worst mass killing in modern US history
"It's kind of like a burden lifted off my shoulders," he said.

On Thursday, the appeal court ruled that McVeigh had "utterly failed to demonstrate substantial grounds upon which relief might be granted."

A day earlier, federal district judge Richard Matsch had also rejected requests for a delay.

Reacting to the decision, US Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a statement saying: "Today's ruling by the 10th Circuit is a ruling in favour of justice."

'No doubt'

McVeigh's lawyers had asked for more time to review nearly 4,500 pages of belatedly-released FBI documents, to look for information they felt could have helped in his defence during the 1997 trial.

The lawyers argued that Judge Matsch was caught up in the horror of the Oklahoma City bombing and "lost sight of the demands of fairness."

Judge Matsch, who presided over the original trial, turned down the bomber's plea for more time because, he said, there was no doubt over his guilt.

McVeigh's execution had initially been set for 16 May.

It was postponed to 11 June after the Justice Department handed in the FBI documents it admitted should have been given to McVeigh's lawyers during his trial.

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See also:

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
12 May 01 | Americas
McVeigh shows FBI 'in turmoil'
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