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McVeigh drops appeals, prepares to die Monday

Timothy McVeigh talks with attorney Robert Nigh  

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh dropped his last appeals Thursday, clearing the way for his execution next week.

"He had prepared himself to die prior to the initial execution date of May 16, and he now again wants to make the final preparations necessary to be ready to die on Monday," his lawyer, Rob Nigh, said.

McVeigh's decision came after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed a lower court ruling and denied defense pleas to postpone the execution.

He is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 a.m. (8 a.m. EDT) Monday for the April 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. If all goes as planned, McVeigh will be the first federal prisoner put to death since 1963.

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McVeigh's lawyers announce his decision to stop legally challenging his execution (June 8)

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CNN Legal Analyst Roger Cossack explains how government prosecutor Sean Connelly won the ruling (June 6)

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Execution of Timothy McVeigh
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Roger Cossack: McVeigh's legal options
Read documents in the McVeigh case (FindLaw) (PDF)

U.S. Court of Appeals denies McVeigh's stay request, June 7

Transcript of the McVeigh stay hearing, June 6

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McVeigh brief

Denial of McVeigh's petition for stay

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Former McVeigh prosecutor Pat Ryan said he was pleased with the result.

"The families have been through enough, and the people of Oklahoma City and Terre Haute have been through enough. The nation has been through enough.

"Timothy McVeigh is guilty. He's been proven guilty, he's admitted he's guilty, his lawyers are saying he's guilty. It's time to get on with what the jury determined," Ryan added.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch rejected claims that the government had committed a "fraud upon the court" by failing to disclose more than 4,400 pages of FBI documents before McVeigh's trial. The FBI revealed the existence of those documents last month, just days before McVeigh's original execution date.

Attorney General John Ashcroft delayed the procedure after the FBI disclosed the documents.

Matsch said defense lawyers failed to prove that any of those documents called into question McVeigh's guilt, and ruled assertions that others may have been involved in the bombing did nothing to lessen McVeigh's role.

Doris Jones, whose daughter died in the Oklahoma City blast, said she was relieved to see the end of the case in sight.

"It's almost over. I fought a long time, and hard, for this."

In a seven-page ruling Thursday afternoon, the 10th Circuit Court said McVeigh "utterly failed" to show the court why Matsch's ruling should be overturned.

McVeigh's lawyers wanted more time to review the FBI documents for information they felt could have helped in his defense during the 1997 trial. They argued the documents could have proved McVeigh played a lesser role in the bombing and that others may have masterminded the attack: That could have persuaded the jury to sentence him to life in prison instead of death, they said.

Nigh said serious questions about the FBI's conduct in the case were brushed aside because of the horror of the Oklahoma City bombing. As a result, the FBI "simply is not held to answer" for withholding information from defense lawyers.

"We believe that the rule of law has been brushed aside because of the nature of the case," he said.

Added Richard Burr, another of McVeigh's lawyers, "There has never been a case that has tested the fairness of our judicial system like this one, and we have not passed the test very well."

McVeigh's lawyers urged him to consider a request for clemency from the White House, but he considered that "a meaningless gesture," Nigh said.

"He was not going to ask President Bush to spare his life," Nigh said.

CNN Correspondents Susan Candiotti and Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.


• U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
• Federal Bureau of Investigation

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