McVEIGH ENDS APPEALS PROCESS, PREPARES TO DIE
by Bill Johnson
American Reporter Correspondent
Oklahoma City, Calif.
OKLAHOMA CITY, June 7, 2001 -- A federal appeals court rejected Timothy = McVeigh's bid for a stay of execution Thursday and the Oklahoma City bomber=
called off further appeals and prepared to die as scheduled on Monday. M= cVeigh had asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the stay so his= lawyers could delve more deeply into the more than 4,000 pages of document= s the FBI failed to turn over to the defense at the time of the trial. The = court said no case was made to show the FBI failure was deliberate or that = anything in the papers would change McVeigh's guilt.
"The McVeigh case has been a test of the system ... and we have not pass= ed the test very well," Richard Burr, one of McVeigh's lawyers, said after = the court hearing.
Burr said that instead of McVeigh's fate being decided on the facts, "ev= ery decision along the way was driven" by the enormity of McVeigh's crime.=
The April 19, 1995, federal building bombing killed 168 people, includin= g 19 children. More than 500 others were injured and some are still undergo= ing surgical procedures. It was the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soi= l.
Once the FBI admitted the records were withheld, U.S. Attorney General= John Ashcroft stayed McVeigh's execution for 30 days so lawyers could look= through the papers to see if anything in them could have affected McVeigh'= s sentence.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, the judge who heard Mc= Veigh's case in Denver, denied a further stay saying that even though McVei= gh raised issues that others might have been involved, there was no evidenc= e to support that argument.
"As the 12 jurors believe it [the verdict] is= justified under all circumstances and executed their moral judgment as a c= onscience of the community, whatever may in time be discovered about the po= ssible involvement of others does not change the fact that Timothy McVeigh = was the instrument of death and destruction," Matsch said.
McVeigh has a= dmitted in interviews with two reporters who wrote a book that he was the p= erson who touched off the bomb. McVeigh's lawyers were asked whether they t= hought that admission had been taken into account by the judges.
"It should not have been," responded lawyer Roy Nigh. He said no admissi= on had ever been made in court.
"We believe the rule of law has been brushed aside" because of the magni= tude of the crime and that there now is "a Tim McVeigh exemption" to that r= ule, he said.
The defense lawyers were obviously upset that there had been no official= reprimand of the FBI, which was responsible for withholding the evidence, = and said the agency had escaped liability and responsibility.
Nigh said M= cVeigh's "mind was made up" before the day's hearing in Denver to call off = further appeals if he lost in the circuit court. Nigh said it would have be= en counterproductive to try to argue further with McVeigh.
Thursday's 10th Circuit Court decision was made by Judge David M. Abel o= f Denver, Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr. of Santa Fe, N.M., and Judge Michael R. M= urphy of Salt Lake City, three memebrs of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Ap= peals.
McVeigh declined to appeal to the full Court of Appeal. Nigh was asked= about the appeals court's ruling that nothing had been found in the papers= to make a change in the outcome.
"We had three weeks" to go over them, Nigh responded. "We believe we pro= ved that evidence had been withheld."
Asked whether something might be fo= und now that would get McVeigh to change his mind, Nigh said there were onl= y three days before the execution and that McVeigh wanted to make his prepa= rations to die.
"An investigation to flush our information to change his mind could not = be found in three days," Nigh said.
"He has friends and family to say goo= d-by to" and he has other preparations to make to prepare to die, Nigh said= .
Nigh described McVeigh as being in good spirits. "He is taking it in = stride" and is in better spirits than his lawyers, Nigh added.