Eyewitness Accounts of McVeigh's Execution

The following is an uncorrected transcript of media eyewitness accounts of Timothy McVeigh's execution.

BYRON PITTS, CBS NEWS: Good morning. I'm Byron Pitts from CBS News.

Timothy James McVeigh died with his eyes open. When the curtains came back, he made eye contact with his people who came to support him. When the curtain passed the media center, Mr. McVeigh seemed to look up and intentionally make eye contact with each of us. Then when the curtain passed, the room where the victims' relatives were — and survivors — he turned his head to the right and made eye contact with them.

He did not speak. But Mr. McVeigh did make a — write out a written statement that the warden passed out to each of us. I'll read it to you now. It reads — and this is written by Timothy McVeigh by hand: "Final written statement of Timothy McVeigh. Out of the night that covers me, Black is the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul."

PITTS: "In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloodied but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade and yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul." He signs it at the end, June 11, 2001.

Thank you.

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS: I'm Shepard Smith from Fox News Channel. We were taken in as a group.

We were standing at a glass window about 18 inches from his feet. He was wearing sneakers, you could see that. There were sheets up to here and folded over. His hands were down. He looked straight at the ceiling. When the curtains opened, to his left were his representatives. He sat up as much as he could in that chair and looked toward his window and nodded his head like that. Then came toward the media window where there were 10 of us, plus five people from the prison, plus two media representatives as well.

He seemed almost to be trying to take charge of the room and understand his circumstances, nodding at each one of us individually, then sort of cursory glance toward the government section. He lay there very still. He never said a word. His lips were very tight. He nodded his head a few times. He blinked a few times.

Then when we were told that the first drug was administered, his very tight lips and his very wide eyes changed considerably; his lips relaxed, his eyes relaxed, he looked toward the ceiling where there happened to be a camera staring right at Oklahoma City. And at that point his eyes seem to roll back only slightly, his body seemed to relax, his feet shifted just a bit. There was the administration of one drug and then another, and after the last drug, there was a very slight movement here.

It was like standing on the other side of a glass wall and looking directly at a hospital bed. Tim McVeigh right at us, his hair very short, almost yellow.

SMITH: The only change between the prison jumpsuit shot that we all knew so well and today's Tim was he seems to have aged a little bit, and he chose to say nothing.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...