by Bill Johnson
American Reporter Correspondent
Oklahoma City, Calif.
June 8, 2001
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.