McVeigh says no to clemency, victims react

Saturday, February 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh let a clemency deadline pass without asking President Bush to spare his life.

That deadline was Thursday night. Friday, McVeigh's Tulsa attorney talked about his decision and the upcoming execution.

McVeigh's attorney, Robert Nigh says he is extremely disappointed with his client's decision not to ask President Bush to spare him from execution while he had the chance. "There are a number of reasons for Mr. McVeigh's decision perhaps first is his belief that the chance of relief was exceedingly small."

Nigh says McVeigh told him Friday morning via telephone that the alternative to being executed doesn't appeal to him. "Even if relief were granted, Mr. McVeigh doesn't believe he would be in a better position having nothing to look forward to but solitary confinement in a bureau of prisons facility does not appeal to Mr. McVeigh."

Many of the families who lost one of the 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing say McVeigh shouldn't have a choice. Dawn DeArmon, who lost her mother in the bombing, says, "I don't believe Tim should be granted an immediate execution just because he decides he doesn't want to sit on death row anymore."

She along with 250 other family members has asked to witness McVeigh's May 16th execution. The only problem is there's only 8 seats. "I do intend on being there one way or another whether that means my family and I have to get an attorney to be present if I'm not one of the 8 in the lottery."

The government is still deciding whether or not to offer a closed-circuit broadcast for the families. McVeigh's attorney says his client will not oppose that option. Nigh says his client knows what he is doing. "I would describe his frame of mind as very realistic and I believe his mind is set."

The only way the execution can be stopped now is voluntary action by President Bush. But knowing his death penalty record as the Texas governor, McVeigh admits that isn't very likely.

McVeigh's execution is scheduled for May 16th in Terre Haute, Indiana.