BOMBING survivors upset over stay of execution request

Thursday, May 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Survivors and those who lost loved ones in the Oklahoma City bombing were frustrated Thursday that Timothy McVeigh's latest legal maneuvers could delay his execution.

Martha Ridley, whose daughter Kathy Ridley died in the bombing, said she doesn't expect the execution to happen for years.

``I was fully expecting him to have his lawyers request this and there's other ways to drag it out, too,'' she said. ''(Terry) Nichols' lawyers can always file suit to keep him alive as a witness.''

The convicted bomber's attorneys announced outside the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., that they would ask for a stay of execution, now scheduled for June 11. They want more time to review documents recently released by the FBI.

Attorney Rob Nigh said McVeigh did not intend to further hurt bombing survivors by asking for the delay.

Ridley doesn't believe that.

``I think that's a crock,'' she said. ``That is just McVeigh and his games. He is an admitted, confessed, quoted killer so why should he receive a stay? He's lived six years-plus longer than what my daughter did. So why should they stay it?''

But Paul Heath, another survivor, said he's confident justice will ultimately be done.

``While this may be a long and bumpy road to justice, our compass will always guide us,'' he said. ``We do trust the court system for the justice required in this case.''

Kathleen Treanor, whose 4-year-old daughter and mother- and father-in-law died in the bombing, said she isn't surprised by McVeigh's request.

``I've stopped trying to figure out what's going on in his head,'' she said.

Treanor said she's still reeling over the FBI's mistake.

``To be perfectly honest, I can't really say he got a fair trial at this point,'' she said. ``It's back in the judge's hands now. Right now I don't know what to think.''

Others questioned McVeigh's motives in asking for the stay.

``I think it's a power issue,'' said Jack Poe, an Oklahoma City police chaplain who counsels bombing survivors. ``It's a controlling issue. I think he knows this isn't going to change the outcome, it just gives him another opportunity to be in control.''

Paul Howell, who is one of 10 victims' relatives selected to watch the execution in person, said he expected McVeigh to seek a stay.

``If nothing else, just to hurt the American people and also the federal government, and that's exactly what he's doing to us,'' he said.

But Howell said he doesn't think a stay would do any good.

``I think (U.S. District Judge Richard) Matsch will look at it and if there's nothing in there that will change anything, which I don't think it can, I think they'll go ahead and hold the execution as planned.''

Bombing survivor Calvin Moser is another who wasn't surprised by the requested stay.

``He has always wanted to be in the driver's seat and here he is being a little manipulated by his attorneys,'' he said. ``He's fallen back to the norm of a person who does not want to be put to death.''

Another bombing survivor, Florence Rogers, said she has been trying to avoid thinking about McVeigh. She was ironing Thursday and saw McVeigh's attorneys talking when she turned on the television.

``I honestly don't want to waste my brain power thinking about it,'' she said.

``I have very good friends I lost dearly. I don't waste my breath on the you-know-what.''

Pat Ryan, who was U.S. attorney during the bombing, said nothing in the recently released FBI documents takes away from the evidence that McVeigh was responsible for the bombing.

``If death penalty crimes were ranked one to 100, this is 100,'' he said. ``There has never been anything worse committed on American soil and Timothy McVeigh is going to get the death penalty at the end of the day.''