- The Washington Times - Friday, June 8, 2001

DENVER Timothy McVeigh will die Monday.

A federal appeals court yesterday denied the Oklahoma City bomber's request to delay his execution for 30 days. Just minutes after learning of that decision, McVeigh ruled out an appeal to the Supreme Court in order that he might instead spend his last few days preparing for his execution.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion at about 6:15 p.m. EST rejecting McVeigh´s argument that he needed more time to sift through the 4,400 pages of interviews and witness statements released last month by the FBI.

"McVeigh has utterly failed to demonstrate substantial grounds upon which relief might be granted," said the court in its seven-page decision.

A distraught Rob Nigh, McVeigh´s lead attorney, said the ruling was "beyond words for us in terms of disappointment."

Although defense attorneys urged their client to make a final appeal to the high court, Mr. Nigh said McVeigh was unwilling to "create more turmoil," saying that he instead wanted to use what time he has left to "create some peace."

McVeigh, 33, is scheduled to die by injection Monday at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for his role in plotting and carrying out the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 persons, including 19 children whom McVeigh described as "collateral damage."

His attorneys said that he had also ruled out the option of asking President Bush for clemency.

"He didn't expect President Bush to spare his life and he wasn´t going to ask President Bush to spare his life," Mr. Nigh said.

"He had prepared himself to die, and he now again wants to make the final preparations necessary to be ready to die on Monday," said Mr. Nigh outside the federal appeals court here.

McVeigh´s attorneys also blasted last night's appellate court decision, accusing the justice system of creating the "McVeigh exception" to the law by refusing to look beyond the magnitude of their client´s crime to see the legal issues involved.

"We believe that Mr. McVeigh raised some extremely compelling legal arguments, every one of which has been rebuffed," said Mr. Nigh.

Defense attorneys had argued that the newly released documents pointed to the existence of a larger conspiracy to bomb the Murrah Building. Attorney General John Ashcroft delayed the execution shortly after the discovery of the documents, but refused to grant another extension.

Mr. Ashcroft praised the appellate court decision yesterday from Washington, saying it "is a ruling in favor of justice."

"Timothy McVeigh … will now be brought to justice," he said.

Mr. Nigh said he did not expect his client to change his mind in refusing to block the scheduled execution over the weekend.

"I think his resolve was clear. He takes this much more in stride than probably his lawyers do, most certainly," he said.

A three-judge panel of the appellate court upheld Wednesday´s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch, who stunned McVeigh´s legal team by denying its request for a stay of execution.

So surprised were defense attorneys that they had to scramble to put together an appeal, filing the application yesterday morning rather than immediately after the district court ruling.

Mr. Nigh had argued before Judge Matsch on Wednesday that the FBI documents hinted at the involvement of more conspirators. He also contended that the FBI´s late release of the documents had hurt McVeigh´s ability to defend himself during his 1997 trial and represented a "fraud upon the court."

"There are additional names of new witnesses we had no opportunity to obtain," Mr. Nigh said. "They could have resulted in Mr. McVeigh receiving a sentence less than death."

But Judge Matsch ruled that McVeigh´s guilt in the bombing was beyond question, no matter how many others may have been involved. He noted that McVeigh was found guilty not only of conspiracy, but also of murder in the deaths of eight federal workers, all of which carried the death penalty.

Judge Matsch also said he believed the FBI had not deliberately withheld documents from the McVeigh defense team, although he called the bureau's conduct "shocking."

"Whatever role others may have played, there is no question Timothy McVeigh committed murder and mayhem as charged," said Judge Matsch in his ruling.

In Oklahoma City, Tom Kight, who lost his daughter in the bombing, said he was pleased but caught off guard by the decision.

"Personally, I was surprised they didn´t get the stay (Wednesday)," he said.

The appellate court´s decision came as no surprise to legal analysts, who noted that Judge Matsch has never been overturned on appeal in the Oklahoma City bombing case.

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