- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2001

Agence France-Presse

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana Self-proclaimed anti-government crusader Timothy McVeigh, defiant to the end, went to his death today without one word of apology for the deaths of 168 persons in the Oklahoma City bombing.
As survivors and relatives of victims peered into the death chamber here, the 33-year-old was unflinching in the face of death, cooperating with prison officials, and striving to look observers in the eye before succumbing to a cocktail of lethal drugs.
"He took the time to look up and to look at each of us in the eye," said Susan Carlson, one of 10 media witnesses who viewed the execution.
"He seemed to be almost trying to take charge of the room," commented Fox News reporter Shepard Smith, who also witnessed the event.
The former Gulf War veteran from western New York state who killed 168 persons in a bombing attack six years ago was escorted into the death chamber and tied down to a gurney around 7:00 am CDT.
Once he could see the 30-odd assembled onlookers in the adjoining rooms, a gaunt and shaven-headed McVeigh sat up and tried to establish eye contact with his attorneys and the press corps.
He even tried to peer through the tinted glass window that concealed the 10 relatives of the victims and survivors of the blast from his gaze, before lying back in the gurney and staring at the ceiling.
Overhead a camera relayed the scene live to a gathering of some 300 people in Oklahoma City as McVeigh quickly lapsed into unconsciousness, struggled to breathe, and finally died all within the space of four minutes.
"There was almost a sense of pride as he nodded his head, laid back down and seemed resigned to his fate," said Miss Carlson, who noted that McVeigh "died with his eyes open."
In a dramatic gesture, McVeigh declined to give a last statement, preferring instead to get prison warden Harley Lappin to distribute hand-written copies of the 19th-century poem "Invictus."
"I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul," it concludes defiantly.
For some of the Oklahomans who lost family in the blast at the Alfred P. Murrah building in April 1995, and who traveled to Terre Haute to see McVeigh die, todays execution brought little comfort.
"We didnt get anything from his face. His facial expression was about as calm as it could be," said Paul Howell, 64, whose daughter, Karan Shepherd, died in the blast.
Anthony Scott, who lost eight colleagues in the explosion, came away with little satisfaction.
"It cant bring back the lives that were lost," he said.
In Washington, President Bush hailed the first execution by the federal government in 38 years as a settling of accounts.
"Today, every living person who was hurt by the evil done in Oklahoma City can rest in the knowledge that there has been a reckoning," Mr. Bush said.
In Oklahoma City, 620 miles southwest of Terre Haute, relatives of victims and survivors came away with mixed emotions.
Larry Whicher whose brother, Alan, was a Secret Service agent and one of the eight federal employees cited in the indictment that convicted McVeigh was troubled by McVeighs silence.
"His stare said volumes. There was no remorse," Mr. Whicher said.
Jay Sawyer, 31, who lost his mother-in-law in the blast, said: "He didnt say anything, but he still had the final word."

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