MCVEIGH'S execution brings measure of relief, despite the great death penalty divide - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

MCVEIGH'S execution brings measure of relief, despite the great death penalty divide

For some, the execution of Timothy McVeigh meant life as they once knew it could return. For others, it meant yet another battle over the death penalty.

``I feel sadness over all the loss, all the tragedy. I also feel sad for McVeigh's family. But life has gone on,'' said Perry Anderson of Decker, Mich., where McVeigh lived for a time. It is the home of James Nichols, the brother of McVeigh's convicted accomplice, Terry Nichols.

While there, prosecutors say Terry Nichols and McVeigh first began toying with fertilizer explosives. Days after the bombing, evidence-hunting federal officials raided James Nichols' farm.

``We're just simple, God-fearing people who would like to get past this whole thing,'' said Louis Bishop, who has lived in the tiny town in Michigan's thumb for six years.

In Kingman, Ariz., where McVeigh also lived briefly, some residents hoped their small city would no longer be connected to a man who killed 168 people, 19 of them children. Mayor Lester Byram said his constituents felt ``absolutely no sympathy for McVeigh.''

``I think the execution was overdue,'' said Laird Hiestand, a retired FBI agent who worked the case for a few weeks in 1995. ``Kingman wasn't responsible for this, but the national media came in and did a butcher job on this town.''

In many states, death penalty opponents held emotional gatherings.

``I do feel sympathy for him,'' said 67-year-old Nicholas Barbara, an ex-Marine from Troy, N.Y., who was at a vigil outside the state Capitol in Albany.

Protesters held signs and rosaries, singing ``Death row is growing longer, the problem stays the same ... the greatest warriors are the ones who stand for peace.''

But even some death penalty opponents found it hard to argue for McVeigh's life.

``I'm not for capital punishment. I believe the Bible when it says `Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.' But I do understand that if Timothy McVeigh spent his life in prison, me and you as taxpayers would support him for the rest of his life,'' said Melvin Carr, of Goldsboro, N.C. ``I don't agree with it, but if anybody did deserves it, it was him.''

Meg Gorham marched against the death penalty at the University of New Mexico. ``Killing is not an answer to killing,'' she said. But, she admitted, ``I'm sure if my family were involved, it would be different.''

Martha Hite of Denver knows some of the families who directly suffered from McVeigh's terrorism. She is one of the jurors who helped convict him.

``I've gotten to know the people in Oklahoma City and I feel their pain. I guess my part of the responsibility was taken care of,'' she said. ``I think you always have a hole in your heart for those people who were lost and those people who were injured.''
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