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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
McVeigh: Countdown to death
Terre Haute execution chamber
McVeigh was strapped to the execution gurney
Timothy McVeigh has been put to death according to strict federal guidelines aimed at ensuring "efficient and humane" executions.

He was the first federal prisoner put to death in 38 years, and his execution followed regulations drawn up in a 54-page document prepared 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.

3 hours - 30 minutes before the execution

  • The execution team arrived at the execution facility, as other staff assembled to receive final instructions.

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

  • He was then escorted to the execution chamber chained at the wrists and ankles.

  • There he cooperated with the executioners and was 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 were then escorted into three separate rooms looking into the chamber.

The execution

  • The entire staff, except for the warden, the local US marshal and the executioners then left the execution room.

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

  • The warden asked McVeigh if he had any final words or wishes, but he did not.

  • The warden read an official procedural statement and told US Marshal, "We are ready." These were the final words heard by McVeigh.

  • The Marshal then gave a pre-arranged signal to the warden, who then directed the executioners to administer the lethal injection.

  • The injection contrained sodium pentothal, which causes unconsciousness, and pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride which stops the heart and lungs.

  • McVeigh's vital signs were monitored on a electrocardiogram until all signs of life stopped.

  • The warden then announced the time of death, 0714 local time (1314BST) and the curtains were 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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