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SURVIVORS, families react to death of McVeigh


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Survivors and family members took solace in the death of Timothy McVeigh Monday, six years after he bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.

``This is a completion of justice and that's what I'll remember about today,'' Kathleen Treanor, who lost 4-year-old daughter Ashley Eckles in the bombing, said Monday after seeing a secure, closed-circuit broadcast of the execution.

Treanor, who also lost a mother- and father-in-law in the bombing, said the nearly 300 survivors and family members who witnessed the broadcast were quiet and respectful and there were no expressions of emotions.

Treanor carried a photo of Ashley and said she thought of her daughter ``every second of the way.''

She said she felt for McVeigh's father, Bill McVeigh.

``I understand he has lost his son and I know the pain he must be feeling today,'' she said.

Larry Whicher of Russellville, Ark., who lost his brother Alan Whicher in the bombing, said that he did not find ``closure'' in the execution, but that he thinks his brother would be satisfied.

``I think Alan would be pleased, not with the death of Timothy McVeigh but at the toughness and fairness that this nation has shown as a whole,'' he said.

He said he was shocked when the broadcast began.

``There was a blank screen, then suddenly, there was Timothy McVeigh.''

``He stared directly into that video camera and the stare said volumes.''

Others touched by the bombing gathered at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Janice Smith, whose brother Lanny Scroggins died in the bombing, prayed with her children at the memorial, then left after getting word that McVeigh was dead at 7:14 a.m. CDT.

``It's over,'' she said. ``We don't have to continue with him anymore.''

At St. Joseph's Catholic Church, near the memorial, death penalty protesters gathered at the ``Jesus Weeps'' statue, held hands and recited the Lord's prayer when it was announced McVeigh was dead.

``The U.S. government has chosen to be on the wrong side of history today,'' said Kevin Acers, president of the Oklahoma City chapter of Amnesty International. He said what McVeigh did was disastrous and a catastrophe for Oklahoma City.

``His death, unfortunately, accomplishes little or nothing,'' Acers said.

Renee Findley, whose friend 41-year-old Teresa Lauderdale was killed in the bombing, stood at the memorial with Lauderdale's parents, John and Gloria Taylor. The three listened to radio coverage, awaiting word McVeigh was dead.

``He's gone,'' Findley said. ``There's some relief, but it really doesn't change anything. It still hurts.''

Said John Taylor, ``We will hurt tomorrow just as we did yesterday.''

McVeigh packed his rage against the government inside a Ryder truck. He lit the fuse on his ammonium nitrate bomb, parked the truck outside the glass-fronted Murrah building and made his escape, leaving Oklahoma City to deal with the horror of its detonation.

Nineteen children in the building's day care center were among the 168 people killed when the bomb sheared the face from all nine floors.

Terry Nichols, a conspirator in the bombing, was convicted on federal charges of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy. Prosecutors plan to try him in state court and seek the death penalty.

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