McVeigh Gives Up Appeal

June 7, 2001 -- Timothy McVeigh has abandoned a last-ditch attempt to stay his execution and is ready to die.

McVeigh's lawyers said he decided not to appeal his case to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals panel turned down his request for a stay this afternoon.

"We have informed Mr. McVeigh of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal's decision and we would like to say he intends to appeal," said attorney Rob Nigh. "But we cannot."

McVeigh also does not plan to ask President Bush for clemency, Nigh said. McVeigh, he said, wanted to spend the weekend before his execution preparing himself to die without the distraction of a court fight unlikely to go his way.

"We have encouraged him to explore all his legal options, sometimes against his own wishes," Nigh said. "I think his resolve was clear. He takes this much more instride than probably his lawyers do, most certainly."

Attorney General John Ashcroft, who had postponed McVeigh's execution from its original May 16 date and opposed any more delays, was pleased with the federal court's decision, issuing a statement that said: "Today's ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is a ruling in favor of justice. … Timothy McVeigh is responsible for the brutal murder of 168 people, including 19 children, and he will now be brought to justice."

Earlier today, McVeigh's lawyers appealed federal Judge Richard Matsch's decision Wednesday not to grant the convicted Oklahoma City bomber's request for a stay of execution to the 10th Circuit in Denver.

They argued they needed more time to analyze more than 4,000 pages of evidence in the case just recently handed over by the FBI, and contended Matsch used the wrong standard in rejecting the request for a postponement of his execution.

Preparing to Die

McVeigh's last chance would have been with an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. But after conferring with the condemned man following his latest legal setback, McVeigh's lawyers confirmed he wished not to pursue any more appeals and wished to die.

McVeigh, 33, will be executed Monday in Terre Haute, Ind. and become the first federal prisoner executed since 1963.

McVeigh has been waiting out the legal maneuvering at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, in an 8- by 10-foot cell and has already ordered his last meal. Prison officials won't release the menu, but regulations require the food to cost less than $20.

As early as Friday morning, McVeigh could be moved to a holding cell in the execution facility where he will live until his final hours.

'Utterly Failed' Appeal

In their seven page ruling, the three-judge panel said McVeigh had failed to prove the government perpetrated fraud in his case and that he could have avoided a death sentence with the information provided in the pages of documents.

"The district court concluded #&0133; that McVeigh had not come close to establishing a reasonable basis to believe that he would able to satisfy the exceedingly demanding standards applicable to fraud on the court claim," the ruling said. "McVeigh has utterly failed to demonstrate substantial grounds upon which relief might be granted."

At a hearing on Wednesday before Matsch, defense attorneys laid out why McVeigh's execution should be stayed. They said they needed more time to study more than 4,000 pages of evidence belatedly released by the FBI that could point to a larger conspiracy in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

In his ruling, however, Matsch said the newly released evidence did not change McVeigh's guilt in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

"Whatever role others may have played, it is clear Timothy McVeigh committed murder and mayhem as charged," he said.

McVeigh's attorneys said the government committed fraud by withholding the reams of documents until last month, just days before the convicted bomber's original execution date of May 16.

Ashcroft delayed the execution until June 11 to give attorneys time to review the new evidence. That process is over.

The April 19, 1995, bombing killed 168 people, including 19 children. In 1997, McVeigh was convicted of conspiracy, using a weapon of mass destruction and murdering eight federal law enforcement officers, and sentenced to death for. Convicted co-conspirator Terry Nichols, 46, is serving a sentence of life in prison.