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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
McVeigh: Countdown to death
Terre Haute execution chamber
McVeigh will be strapped to the execution gurney
In becoming the first federal prisoner to be executed for 38 years, Timothy McVeigh will be the first person to die according to strict guidelines covering the federal executions.

Aimed at ensuring "efficient and humane" executions, the regulations were drawn up in a 54-page document by the US Bureau of Prisons six years ago.

In the early hours of Sunday morning local time, McVeigh was moved into a spartan holding cell in the execution facility containing a shower, a toilet, a bed and metal desk.

The regulations set out a timetable for McVeigh's final hours as follows:

24 -12 hours before the execution

  • McVeigh was allowed to make his last telephone call and order his last meal.

  • He could request food from local restaurants in Terre Haute, but the meal could not cost more than $20. McVeigh chose a litre of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

  • The meal was served at a time determined by the prison governor.

  • He was allowed to take one book, some magazines and some writing paper into the cell, and was permitted to watch a small black and white television.

12 - 3 hours before the execution

  • McVeigh's lawyers made their final visits, after which access to the prison grounds was tightly restricted. McVeigh's father had already made his final visit in April.

3 hours - 30 minutes before the execution

  • The execution team will arrive at the execution facility, as other staff assemble to receive final instructions.

  • McVeigh will be moved from the holding cell by a restraint team and strip-searched. He will then be dressed in loose khaki trousers, a shirt and slip-on shoes.

  • He will be held in restraints if deemed necessary by the warden, and escorted to the execution chamber chained at the wrists and ankles.

  • There he will be strapped onto the T-shaped gurney.

  • Witnesses including 10 survivors or relatives of those killed in the Oklahoma bombing, 10 witnesses invited by McVeigh, and 10 members of the media will then be escorted into three separate rooms looking into the chamber.

The execution

  • All staff except for the warden, the local US marshal and the executioners will leave the execution room.

  • Curtains shrouding the execution chamber from the three separate witness rooms will be drawn back.

  • The warden will ask McVeigh if he has any final words or wishes.

  • After his final words, the warden will then read an official procedural statement before telling the US Marshal: "We are ready." These will be the final words heard by McVeigh.

  • The Marshal will then give a pre-arranged signal to the warden, who will then direct the executioners to administer the lethal injection.

  • The executioners will inject sodium pentothal, which causes unconsciousness, and pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride which stops the heart and lungs.

  • McVeigh's vital signs will be monitored on a electrocardiogram until all signs of life have stopped. It should take 10-15 minutes.

  • The warden will announce the time of death, and the curtains will be closed.

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See also:

04 Jun 01 | Americas
Prosecutors oppose McVeigh delay
31 May 01 | Americas
McVeigh's on-off date with death
16 May 01 | Americas
FBI admits McVeigh blunder
12 Apr 01 | Americas
Live from death row
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