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McVeigh Passes on Deadline for Presidential Pardon

Aired February 16, 2001 - 1:05 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is a step closer to execution on May 16. McVeigh has passed on a deadline for asking President Bush to spare his life.

CNN's Susan Candiotti is covering the story for us. She brings us more on McVeigh's decision -- Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (OFF-MIKE) missing piece of evidence, that might be the only way that Timothy McVeigh might have one more crack at an appeal. But unless something like that happens, he does appear to have passed up his very last chance at avoiding execution.

Timothy McVeigh's lawyer, Rob Nigh, said during a news conference just a short time ago that, in effect, his client is a pragmatic man, and that given the very small chances of success, of getting a clemency petition heard by President Bush, he didn't think it was worth it to even apply.

And Mr. Nigh said that McVeigh cited another reason.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROB NIGH, ATTORNEY FOR TIMOTHY MCVEIGH: Even if relief were granted, Mr. McVeigh does not believe he would be in a better position. Having nothing to look forward to but solitary confinement in a Bureau of Prisons facility does not appeal to Mr. McVeigh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Mr. Nigh also said that Timothy McVeigh is tired of confinement in a cell that measures 10x12 day after day for 23 hours a day.

And so it does appear at this time that Timothy McVeigh will face death by lethal injection on May 16. That would be the first time a federal prisoner would be put to death since 1963.

And the U.S. Bureau of Prisons is considering whether to allow a closed-circuit telecast of that execution to victims and victims' relatives of the Oklahoma City Bombing, which happened back in 1995.

We spoke not long ago with a victim's relative. To hear what he had to say about this -- and he said he does intend to watch a closed- circuit broadcast if that happens.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to the execution or witnessing it is not from a revenge standpoint, as we know that that's what got Tim McVeigh in the problems he's in, as I believe, is revenge for Waco and Ruby Ridge. And that's not an answer. I'm there to see that justice is carried out, the sentence of justice. You know, I don't know that the death penalty is a deterrent to others, but it's certainly a deterrent to Tim McVeigh. This will never happen again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: Mr. McVeigh has said that he is not opposed to a public broadcast of his execution. However, through his attorney he has said he does not intend to ask for such a thing.

Finally, he has also authorized a biography to be written, and that will be published in April.

Natalie, back to you.

ALLEN: All right, Susan Candiotti. Thanks, Susan.

And we'll talk with Timothy McVeigh's lawyer in the next hour here of CNN TODAY.

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