The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 27, 2001 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, April 27, 2001
Page 4
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M FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2001 NATION THE SALINA JOURNAL • BOMBING DOCUMENTARY Grandmother retraces McVeigh's footsteps Woman whose grandsons died in bombing seeks truth By JENNIFER L. BROWN rill' Associiilecl Press OKLAHOMA CITY — Kathy Graham Wilburn has spent six years finding out as much as slie can about Timothy McVeigh, the man who mur- tleTcci her grandsons in the Oklahoma City bombing. She has traveled to McVeigh's hangouts, slept in the seedy motels he frequented and faced some of the people who knew him best. Wilburn is using her research to help a film company make a documentary, "A Cry for Justice: The Untold Story Behind the Oklahoma City Bombing," that contends the attack was the work of a wider conspiracy The documentary is due for release after McVeigh's execution May 16. Wilburn's search for the reason McVeigh killed 168 people — including her grandsons, 3- year-old Chase Smith and 2- year-old Colton Smith — has brought her many places other victims' relatives wouldn't go. She spent a "creepy" night trying to sleep in the same bed McVeigh did two nights before the April 19, 1995, explosion. She visited white supremacist camps where the bomber allegedly developed his anti-government views. She had dinner with the woman who made McVeigh's fake driver's license and could have alerted authorities before he carried out the attack. Wilburn met McVeigh's father not far from his home in Pendleton, N.Y. "He's the forgotten victim," Wilburn said. "He's a sad man." In Kingman, Ariz., she had dinner with the wife of Michael Fortier, McVeigh's Army buddy who is serving a 12-year prison term for failing to go to authorities after McVeigh told him of the bombing plans. "This is probably the strangest call you're ever going to get," Wilburn told Lori Fortier when the woman picked up the phone at a nail salon where she worked. When the women met at a restaurant that night, Fortier wouldn't look Wilburn in the eye. The Associated Press Kathy Graham Wilburn talks about her six-year search for information about Timothy McVeigh, who killed her grandsons in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing. "I realized I was in the presence of a very broken young lady," Wilburn said. "I don't know why, but I put my arm around her. I said, 'Honey thank you for coming. 1 know this is going to be an awkward evening.' " Lori Fortier, the woman who made the fake driver's license, wouldn't talk about the bombing but apologized repeatedly that night. "As we're leaving, she grabs onto me. She holds me close to her and she just bawls and bawls and bawls, saying, 'I'm so sorry,' " Wilburn said. Wilburn, who worked for the IRS for 10 years but has not been back since the bombing, gave MGA Films of Fort Collins, Colo., access to her research and helped MGA crews gain interviews with people who were willing to talk to her because her grandsons died in the bombing. Wilburn interviews people in the documentary but is rarely shown on camera. More involved, she says The documentary says McVeigh and Nichols had help from a right-wing network. It includes interviews with bombing survivors, witnesses, FBI officials and former right-wing terrorists. Wilburn believes four or five men helped McVeigh and Nichols plan and finance the bombing, even accompanying McVeigh to Oklahoma City She thinks the plot was hatched in Elohim City, a right-wing compound in Oklahoma. • Federal authorities believe McVeigh came to Oklahoma City alone and that they have prosecuted the only three men involved in the bombing. In the two days before the bombing, Wilburn's daughter, Edye Stowe, stayed home from work with Chase and Colton because she had strep throat. A friend called to tell her she was bringing her a birthday cake to work Wednesday, so Stowe went, dropping her kids off a few blocks away at the childcare center in the Alfred P.- Murrah Federal Building. . Stowe was walking across' the office to blow out her birthday candles when the bomb rocked her building, where Wilburn also worked. Together, they ran toward the wrecke(}; Murrah building. Colton died in the arms of a rescue worker. Chase had a rock in the back of his head. His uncle found the body after, it had been placed in the back of a truck. Wilburn, whose husband,,' Glenn, died of pancreatic cancer four years ago, said she and her husband alienated many other bombing victims' families because they "started asking questions too soon." Befriending people like Bill McVeigh and Lori Fortier has not helped. But that isn't going to stop, Wilburn. "We owed it to Chas^; and Colton to find the truth.' They trusted us to keep them! safe," she said. She said she believes McVeigh deserves to die for the bombing — "but I'm not for killing him. I believe with him goes the truth." • TIMOTHY MCVEIGH Reno was possible target for McVeigh Bomber says he considered individual assassination targets By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Timothy McVeigh said he considered assassinating former Attorney General Janet Reno and others instead of bombing the Oklahoma City federal building to retaliate against the government. "I considered, among other things, a campaign of individual assassination," McVeigh said in a letter to Fox News released Thursday McVeigh said "eligible" tar- guts included Reno, "making her accept 'full responsibility' in deed, not just word," for tlie deaths as a result of the federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. Other targets included federal Judge Walter Smith,'who presided over the Waco trial, and Lon Horiuchi, an FBI agent involved at a shootout at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. A retaliatory strike McVeigh said he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City as a retaliatory strike against a government that he believed had waged violence against its citizens. "I decided to send a message to a government that was becoming increasingly hostile, by bombing a government building and the government employees within that building who repre- RENO MCVEIGH sent that government," McVeigh said in the letter. McVeigh, 33, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred E Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, 19 of them children. 'Collateral damage' Until recently, the former Gulf War veteran had not admitted his involvement in the bombing or explained his reasons for doing it. Last month, though, in a book about the bombing written by two reporters who interviewed him, McVeigh admitted his actions and called the children killed "collateral damage." Asked about the passage, McVeigh told Fox: "Collateral Damage? As an American news junkie; a military man; and a Gulf War Veteran, where do they think I learned that (It sux-e as hell wasn't Osami Bin Laden!)" — he wrote, misspelling the name of a suspected terrorist. As in the book, McVeigh said he bombed the federal building to avenge the deaths at Waco and contended his actions were justified. Couple commit suicide; young mother, children are missing By The Associated Press NAPLES, Fla. — A man killed his girlfriend and then shot himself to death after they apparently stole the identity of a young woman traveling cross-country with them. The young woman and her two small children are missing. Sheriff's investigators said they do not believe 21-year-old Kimyala Henson and her children were ever in Florida. An autopsy found that Prank Lee Oehring, 28, shot Christine Noel Mayer, 24, in the head, then killed himself. Their bodies were found at a rest stop last week. Inside the couple's car, authorities found a fake ID card with a photo of the slain woman but Henson's name. They also found forged signatures on receipts from Henson's credit cards. Investigators are trying to find Henson and her daughters. One girl turns 2 today; the other is 4 months old. Oehring had been out of jail on bail, awaiting trial in Missouri on charges of conspiring to have his pregnant ex-wife strangled. He and his girlfriend left town just before he was to go on trial last month. They arrived in Portland, Ore., where Henson lives, around April 2, and four days later the group left. Relatives said Henson had known Mayer for about six years and had just met Oehring. Posturepedic' 131 S. 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