Officials counting requests to witness McVeigh execution

Monday, February 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Officials on Monday pored through requests sent by people interested in watching the execution of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Bombing survivors and family members of victims had until Monday to return one-page forms sent out by the government, gauging their desire to witness McVeigh's scheduled May 16 execution at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

Officials would not have numbers on how many people wanted to witness the execution until Tuesday, U.S. attorney's office spokesman Joe Heaton said.

"We're still counting," he said.

The government sent out 1,100 letters, but there are only eight seats open for victims to witness the execution.

Dan Dunne, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said officials were considering several options to accommodate all those requesting to witness the execution, including a possible closed-circuit television broadcast of McVeigh's execution.

Dunne said Monday that there was no time frame on when a decision on the matter might be made.

"I can just say we've been working on what the various options are," Dunne said. "We haven't really ruled out any options, but we just haven't gotten into any specifics."

McVeigh, who dropped all his appeals in December, has until Feb.

16 to ask the president to commute or reduce his death sentence.

Otherwise, he would be set to receive a lethal injection and become the first federal prisoner executed in 37 years.

McVeigh was convicted of the April 19, 1995, attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, which left 168 people dead and more than 500 injured.