Eyewitness Accounts of McVeigh's Execution

ByABC News
June 11, 2001, 9:36 AM

T E R R E  H A U T E, Ind., June 11, 2001 -- 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 curtainscame back, he made eye contact with his people who came to supporthim. When the curtain passed the media center, Mr. McVeigh seemed tolook up and intentionally make eye contact with each of us. Then whenthe curtain passed, the room where the victims' relatives were andsurvivors he turned his head to the right and made eye contact withthem.

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

PITTS: "In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not wincednor cried aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloodiedbut unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but thehorror of the shade and yet the menace of the years finds and shallfind me unafraid. It matters not how straight the gate, how chargedwith punishment the scroll. I am the master of my fate. I am thecaptain of my soul." He signs it at the end, June 11, 2001.

Thank you.

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS: I'm Shepard Smith from Fox NewsChannel. 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 tohere and folded over. His hands were down. He looked straight at theceiling. When the curtains opened, to his left were hisrepresentatives. He sat up as much as he could in that chair andlooked toward his window and nodded his head like that. Then cametoward the media window where there were 10 of us, plus five peoplefrom the prison, plus two media representatives as well.

He seemed almost to be trying to take charge of the room andunderstand his circumstances, nodding at each one of us individually,then sort of cursory glance toward the government section. He laythere 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, hisvery tight lips and his very wide eyes changed considerably; his lipsrelaxed, his eyes relaxed, he looked toward the ceiling where therehappened to be a camera staring right at Oklahoma City. And at thatpoint his eyes seem to roll back only slightly, his body seemed torelax, his feet shifted just a bit. There was the administration ofone drug and then another, and after the last drug, there was a veryslight movement here.

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

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

LINDA CAVANAUGH, KFOR-TV REPORTER: My name Linda Cavanaugh. I'm with KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City. The last time Isaw Tim McVeigh was in the courtroom in Denver. He had changedmarkedly. He was paler, he was thinner, and he did not have the samelook of arrogance that he had in the courtroom in Denver.

Today, when we came in, his head was almost shaven, as they havedescribed. He was laying flat, but as the windows, as though you werein a bed and you were trying to see what was over the edge of it, hestrained his neck to look at us. His lips were partly open, his eyeswere open and when they started administering the drugs, he beganstaring at the ceiling.