McVeigh Ends Appeal for Stay of Execution
Ending more than three weeks of legal maneuvers, McVeigh’s lawyers said yesterday day they will not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of execution.
The announcement came after an appeals court upheld a lower court’s rejection of a stay.
“McVeigh has utterly failed to demonstrate substantial grounds upon which relief might be granted,” the appeals court said.
McVeigh, 33, will be put to death by lethal injection at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., June 11. He will be the first federal prisoner executed since 1963.
Some 300 survivors and relatives of the victims will watch the execution on closed-circuit television, a special arrangement set up by Attorney General John Ashcroft.
In his ruling Wednesday, Judge Richard Matsch said newly released FBI documents cast no doubt on McVeigh’s guilt in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building that killed 168 people.
Lawyers for McVeigh said federal officials knew six months ago that documents had been withheld from the McVeigh trial, but had failed to do anything about it until six days before the original May 16 execution date.
They said information in those documents could have affected the jury’s decision in penalty phase of the trial.
Prosecutors argued the documents contained no information that would have swayed the jury’s opinion in the case, saying a delay in McVeigh’s execution would amount to a delay in the jury’s “reasoned, moral judgment.”
Previously unreleased documents from the Oklahoma City case, including notes and transcripts from interviews, were found at various FBI offices last month. Ashcroft delayed McVeigh’s execution to give defense attorneys time to review the documents.
In testimony before Congress, FBI Director Louis Freeh admitted that not turning over the documents promptly was a “serious error” on the agency’s part.