PENDLETON, N.Y. (AP) _ An American flag fluttered over Timothy McVeigh's boyhood home Wednesday. But Bill McVeigh will lower it Thursday, in anticipation of his son's execution by the federal government.
After watching television coverage of a Denver judge's refusal to temporarily spare the Oklahoma City bomber from a lethal injection scheduled for Monday, the elder McVeigh said he was disappointed but not surprised.
``I think the longer he lives the better. It's easiest on me,'' said Bill McVeigh, who showed no reaction to the news. ``But ... it's going to happen eventually.''
Timothy McVeigh sought a stay after it was revealed the FBI failed to give defense lawyers more than 4,000 documents related to his prosecution.
But even as he watched legal experts almost unanimously predict a stay, Bill McVeigh was reluctant to believe them, opening his mail as anchors discussed his son's fate. ``I listen to it but a lot doesn't sink in,'' he said. ``Judge Matsch is his own man.''
Bill McVeigh sat in an easy chair, chin in hand, joined in his living room with reporters and photographers from The Associated Press and a Buffalo television station. McVeigh said he wasn't optimistic about an appeal, particularly in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the next step in the legal system.
``The only chance he might have is the (U.S.) Supreme Court,'' Bill McVeigh said. ``Timmy more or less told me that. He said, 'Dad, you're never going to get anything from the 10th circuit.'''
Barring a successful appeal, Timothy McVeigh will be executed Monday morning in Terre Haute, Ind. He was convicted in 1997 of killing 168 people _ 19 of them children _ when he blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building.
He guessed his son, with whom he last spoke a month ago, went forward with his appeal to expose mistakes by the government. ``He wants to stay around long enough so people know they screwed up in his case, too,'' McVeigh said.
``I have nothing against the FBI,'' the father added, ``but even I'm starting to wonder.''
On Monday, the elder McVeigh will not be home in this rural town north of Buffalo where he raised his only son, nor will he be in Terre Haute.
He will lower the flag outside his house before leaving town for an undisclosed location.
``It'll be down tomorrow,'' he said. ``I wanted it up for Memorial Day, that's what a flag is for. ...I don't want it up when he's executed.''
One regret he has about leaving the house is that the final phone call Timothy McVeigh promised to make to his father will probably go unanswered. Bill McVeigh will be at a phone number not on his son's approved call list, the father said.
``He owes me a phone call, he sort of promised,'' the father said, ``but I probably won't get it.''