OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBER McVEIGH SET TO DIE MAY 16
by Bill Johnson
American Reporter Correspondent
Oklahoma City, Okla.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The man who blew up the federal building was told = Tuesday he will die for thatcrime on May 16.
Timothy McVeigh, who voluntarily gave up his right to further appea= ls, was notified of the date in aletter delivered to his cell in the federa= l penitentiary at Terre Haute, Ind. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons willannounc= e the exact time later.
McVeigh has indicated he will seek a presidential pardon, and offic= ials said he has 30 days to do that.His petition, if he files one, apparent= ly will go to President-elect George W. Bush, a staunch defender ofthe deat= h penalty.
McVeigh, a 32-year-old decorated Gulf War veteran who later turned = against the government, wasconvicted of the April 19, 1995, bombing that ki= lled 168 people and injured more than 500 others. Amongthe dead were 19 chi= ldren, most of them in the building's second-floor child-care center. = He will be put to death in the federal prison by lethal injection, the me= thod of execution used in Oklahoma, where his terrorist crime occurred.
Over the years since McVeigh was convicted by a federal court jury = in Denver, survivors of the bombing and the relatives of those who died hav= e split into opposing camps over whether he should die. Some say the worst = punishment McVeigh could receive would be to spend the rest of his life loc= ked up.
Jeannie Coverdale, whose two young grandsons were among the victims= , said Tuesday she hadbeen waiting for the day McVeigh was put to death. Co= verdale said she was convinced McVeigh did not act along and that her sole = concern was that he would go to his death without identifying those others.
But, she said, "As long as he lives, he is a threat to others."
Others oppose McVeigh's execution because they believe he wants onl= y to become a martyr to anti-government organizations.
In a February interview on the CBS program "60 Minutes," McVeigh sa= id he was prepared for death.He said that from his "psychological perspecti= ve, it's a little easier being on death row. Because you knowhow you're goi= ng to die. You can narrow down where you're going to die, and you can prett= y much narrowdown the time."
McVeigh has never accepted responsibility for the bombing, and has = said that the government,ultimately, was to blame. He said in a television = interview last year that he was bitter over the Gulf War. There were report= s that he wanted to enter the Special Services, but washed out of the schoo= l.
He said his anger at the government deepened after the federal si= ege and the shooting death ofRandy Weaver's wife in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and = the fiery deaths of Branch Davidian members after another federal standoff = near Waco, Texas.
The last civilian executed by the federal government was Victor Feg= uer, who was hanged in 1963.Another federal prisoner is scheduled for execu= tion before McVeigh, but he has not exhausted all hisappeals, meaning that = McVeigh probably will die first.
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, who presided over McVeigh's tri= al, held a hearing last month todetermine whether McVeigh was competent to = make the decision to give up any further appeals. McVeigh participated thro= ugh a closed-circuit television setup from his prison.
After closely questioning McVeigh for more than a half-hour, Matsch= ruled that McVeigh wascompetent to made his decision. The deadline for McV= eigh to change his mind about future appeals expired late last week. = Matsch held at the conclusion of that hearing "that there is nothing inher= ently irrational about a person making a decision to accept the judgment of= a court."
The judge added that it was his finding "that by your demeanor and mann= er and by the answers you have given to me to these questions, you have dem= onstrated that the decision that you have made and communicated to this cou= rt is a decision that has been made knowingly."