McVeigh's Father Speaks of His Son

Thursday, May 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PENDLETON, N.Y. (AP) _ For more than five years after the Oklahoma City bombing, Bill McVeigh had a flicker of doubt about his son's involvement. That flicker finally died out in December as he sat across from his son during a prison visit.

``He said, `Dad, I did what I had to do and I'm sorry what I put you through,''' Bill McVeigh recalled Wednesday during an interview at his Pendleton home, near Buffalo. ``That's the first time I was sure.''

On May 16, Timothy McVeigh, 33, will be executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people. It was the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil.

The elder McVeigh has said he will honor his son's request and not witness the execution. Bill McVeigh said neither he nor any other family member will go to Terre Haute.

On Wednesday, Bill McVeigh spoke of the last time he visited his son, April 10, on death row. The elder McVeigh said he was disappointed _ but not surprised _ that his son would not apologize for the crime.

``It's a tough thing to say, but he still thinks he did the right thing. That's why he's not apologizing,'' Bill McVeigh said.

A retired autoworker who has always lived within five miles of his current home in upstate New York, Bill McVeigh has said he never thought much about capital punishment until his son faced a death sentence. He said he does not favor the death penalty.

About 30 people will witness his execution in person and 200 or more will watch via closed-circuit television in Oklahoma City.