The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 2001 · Page 6
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 6

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, May 4, 2001
Page 6
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AB FRIDAY. MAY 4, 2001 MCVEIGH EXECUTION THE SALINA JOURNAL T DEATH PENALTY DEBATE For some, execution day's a walk in the park Not all survivors and victims of bombing focused on execution By JENNIFER L. BROWN Tlw AssociniLYl Press OKLAHOMA CITY — Not all those who were injured or lost loved ones in the Oklahoma City bombing will wake before dawn on May 16 to watch Timothy McVeigh die. Athena Roy will kneel in church to pray for the man who murdered her mother. Rob Roddy, a survivor of the Oklahoma City bombing, will get ready for work the same as he does every weekday Deloris Watson will take her scarred grandson to a park, where they will eat ice cream straight out of the carton and study the clouds. They are victims of the April 19,1995, blast who think it is easier to heal if they try to go on with the lives they had before McVeigh parked a truck bomb in front of the federal building and killed 168 people. They don't attend every anniversary ceremony or volunteer at the memorial site, telling their stories to tourists from all over the world. They don't like to talk to reporters. "You can never forget it, but you move on," says LaVerne McCloud, whose 10-year-old daughter, Nekia, was injured in the Alfred P. Murrah Building childcare center. McCloud rarely goes to the memorial. More than 200 people told the government they want to watch McVeigh's execution, prompting Attorney General John Ashcroft to allow the largest closed-circuit TV broadcast of an execution in U.S. history Roy gets angry when she hears someone say bombing survivors and victims' families "Boycotting it would be a much stronger statement they could send him." Robert Roddy Oklahoma City bombing survivor want to watch McVeigh die. "We're not all the same person," says Roy, whose mother worked in the U.S. Housing and Urban Development office. "Some of us don't need to go out and get the support of the public. I can keep that to myself." Roy, who is Roman Catholic, believes the death penalty is wrong. She says McVeigh's execution will not help her family heal. Roy, who was 22 when her mother, Diane HoUingsworth Althouse, was killed, says it is time other people stop dwelling on the bombing. She worries that some bombing survivors and victims' families are downplaying other people's losses. "There are people that die every day in tragedies," she says. "There are all kinds of horrific things that have been happening everywhere." Roddy, one of the few who walked out of the federal building without a scratch, will not do anything out of the ordinary on McVeigh's execution day He hopes other bombing survivors do the same, leaving the metal folding chairs facing the execution viewing screen empty "Boycotting it would be a much stronger statement they could send him," he says. "I wish they would realize that." Roddy did not support capital punishment before the bombing and still doesn't. He thought for The Associated Press Robert Roddy, one of the few federal employees who escaped from the Oklahoma City federal building bomb blast unhurt, said he opposes the death penalty even for Timothy Mc Veigh and plans to go to work as normal on May 16, the scheduled day of McVeigh's execution. Roddy stands Wednesday at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, where the Alfred P. Murrah Building stood prior to the bombing six years ago. the first couple of months after the blast that maybe McVeigh could be an exception. "After the shock wore off, I came to my senses," he says. "I started realizing that it was so self-serving of me. I could never begin to forgive McVeigh, but I don't want him killed." Dennis Hodges, who lost a sister, a great-niece and a great- nephew in the bombing, has kept to himself so much in the past six years that he is not on a U.S. Attorney's list of bombing victims' relatives. That means he cannot attend the closed-circuit broadcast, even though he has tried to register, Hodges and his family plan to spend May 16 carrying on with their daily lives. They will turn on the news, waiting for word McVeigh will no longer disrupt • TIMOTHY MCVEIGH'S FATHER For father, some questions linger The Associated Press Bill McVeigh, father of Timothy McVeigh, talks with reporters at his home in Pendleton, N.Y., Wednesday. BUI McVeigh said he'll remember his son as a happy young boy, not the adult who killed 168 people when he bombed a federal building six years ago. Bill McVeigh says he's finally convinced his son is guilty of the bombing By CAROLYN THOMPSON The Assnciiileil I'rcss PENDLETON, N.Y. — For more than five years after the Oklahoma City bombing. Bill McVeigh had a flicker of doubt about his son's involvement. That flicker finally died in December as he sat across from his son during a prison visit. "He said, 'Dad, I did what 1 had to do, and I'm sorry what I put you through,' " Bill McVeigh recalled Wednesday during an interview at his Pendleton home, near Buffalo. "That's the first time I was sure." On May 16, Timothy McVeigh, 33, will be executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people. It was the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil. The elder McVeigh has said he will honor his son's request and not witness the execution. Bill McVeigh said neither he nor any other family member will go to Terre Haute. On Wednesday, Bill McVeigh spoke of his final visit with his son on April 10, on death row. He said he was disappointed — but not surprised — that his son would not apologize for the crime. "It's a tough thing to say, but he still thinks he did the right thing. That's why he's not apologizing," Bill McVeigh said. He talks candidly about the son he still loves. It is "Timmy" that he will remember, the one home movies show being pulled on a wagon behind his father's tractor, the boy who played at the nearby Erie Canal and had perfect attendance through high school. "Not Tim, the guy who bombed the Murrah buildiiig," McVeigh said. That Tim seemed to emerge in 1994, the year following the federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, which left some 80 people dead. During last month's visit, Timothy McVeigh told his father Waco was "the final straw" preceding the bombing. The elder McVeigh said there will always be questions he will want to ask his son, things he will want to say He hopes for a final telephone call from death row, but he doubts it will come. Timothy McVeigh would not even have agreed to the April 10 visit wei-e it not for his sister, Jennifer. Bill McVeigh went with a list of questions for his son: among them, would Tim apologize? "He said, 'Dad, it would make a lot of people happy if I apologize, but I'm not going to lie,' " Bill McVeigh said. "It didn't surprise me at all, but I had to hear it from him." There was no hug good-bye. "He had the chance and he turned it down before we got there," McVeigh said. "I don't think he's a hugger, first of all." "I would have. Jennifer wanted to." A retired autoworker who has always lived within five miles of his current home in upstate New York, McVeigh has said he never thought much about capital punishment until his son faced a death sentence. He said he does not favor the death penalty About 30 people will witness the execution in person and nearly 300 may watch via closed-circuit television in Oklahoma City Bill McVeigh will not be among them. Timothy McVeigh did not ask him to come. "If he wanted us to go, I don't think I could go anyhow," he said. JVEJWCAJRS Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Buick, Pontiac & Cadillac jl#\Holm Automotive ^"TJ Center, Inc. -^1^^ Abilene, Kansas WWW. holmauto .com ftbr Personal ScTvicc Central nsdna National Bank MEMBER FDIC 454 S. Ohio, Salina 785-823-5700 SIDEWALK SALE Saturday, May 5th SHOCKEY& LANDES FURNITURE ANDGiFTg))! 324 N. Broadway, Abilene, Kansas Mon.-Fri. 9-5:30 • Sat. 9-5:00 • 785-263-4770 Watchbands & Watch Repair Est. 1884 T W £ L € R S Fine Credit Jewelers It's the little things that matter. 123 N. Santa Fe / 825-0531 their days by spewing his views in the media. Watson will try not to think of McVeigh on his execution day She will spend it with her grandson P.J. Allen, who breathes through a tube in liis throat and has two bai'e spots on his scalp where rocks lodged in his head. P.J. is one of six children wiio survived in the child-care center on the second lloor of the ieder- • EXECUTION TAPES al building. His grandmother recalls a day not long ago when she had a headache. The 7-year-old boy kept asking her to help him pick out shapes in the clouds, but she wouldn't open her eyes. "You know why your head hurts? You're not looking at the clouds," he said. That's what they will do on May 1.6. TainfuF tapes of execution released ABC's 'Nightline' broadcasts excerpts of Georgia executions By LARRY McSHANE The Associdled I'ress NEW YORK - When the state of Georgia sat Ivon Ray Stanley in its clectiic chaii- in 1984, a corrections official provided a step-by-stcp account of his death: the fastening of log straps, the jolt of power, the final slump of liis body The dry eniotionloss recitation is one of 23 Ooorgia executions that were tape recorded betweenl983 and 1998. "It's painful to listen to," said David Isay pi-oducer of a one- hour radio show based on the tapes. "The people sound so dispassionate. It sounds like a NASA space launch. Kvon when the executions are botclied, it's routine, routine, I 'outine." The recordings were to bo broadcast nationally for the first time Wednesday evening, with Isay's program, produced for New York i)ublic I 'adio station WNYC, available to public radio stations across tlie country ABC-TV's "Nightline" aired portions of the tapes. Full recordings of 19 of tlie executions, including two where the condemned men needed a second burst of electricity to die, were to be posted on the Internet. In the U-minute tape ft-om the Stanley execution, the inmate offers no final words or prayers. "There are no stays," intones a voice over the phone to prison officials. "You can proceed to carry out the official order of the court." There's the sound of a slight click as the power goes on before Willis Marable, an assistant to the warden, begins his description. "When the first surge entered his body, he stiffened and I heard a pop, as if one of the straps broke," Marable says. "He is at this time sitting there with clenched fists, with no other movement." Once Stanley is declared dead, Marable is asked about the popping noise. "I think it was just the electricity arc," Marable says. "I don't think any strap broke. He just jerked real hard and caused the electricity to arc." The release of the tapes comes two weeks before the May 16 lethal injection of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who had requested the first public execution in the United States since the 1930s. Chinese Restaurant New Ownership • New Flavor Buffet Free on Your Birthday With Paying Guests *I.D. Proof Required* l-Ioure: Mmi.'I'lmrs. ) I ^ - 9 p.m. • |-ri.Sat. 11 p.m. • Sun. 11 a.m.- 9 640 Westport Blvd.* Salina, KS 67401* 785-827-6400 If It's Not Carpet It's On Sale! • Bruce "Solid Wood" Reflections • Ceramic Tiles • Vinyl Flooring • Laminate Flooring SUNFLOWER GHPET ONE 2559 Market Place • 5 Blocks North of Wal-Mart on 9th St. 825-6260 / 1-800-748-7493 Hours: Monday & Thursday 9-7, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 9-5:30, Closed Sunday. 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