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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Victims Speak About Timothy McVeigh's Execution

Aired June 11, 2001 - 09:32   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Before we took the attorneys, we were bringing you reaction from survivors and families of the victims back in Oklahoma City. Many people have said throughout this entire affair that they will only have closure when they die. Again, we heard that several times so far this morning.

Now back to Oklahoma City, more reaction now from people gathered there.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ONETA JOHNSON, DAUGHTER OF BOMBING VICTIM: ... and we all thanked them. It was wonderful. I think this will take care of some of the nightmares.

QUESTION: Ashcroft was where?

JOHNSON: He was here, but he had to go back to where they had a secured phone and stuff.

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON: He was here in Oklahoma City. He came, and it was a shock to us...

QUESTION: What did he say?

JOHNSON: He just kind of told us why he worked on getting set up where we were and how sorry he was that we were having to go through what we were, and how much he was thankful for us for helping the government, you know, in whatever way the families in all of this is going to, and he was just, you know, he just pretty much was kind of letting us know he was there.

QUESTION: Did you mingle with him a little bit after...

JOHNSON: A little bit before, a little bit before. I didn't get to see him afterward. They pretty much were getting us on the buses and telling us to get.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

JOHNSON: He did not sit with us during because they had to take him somewhere with a secured phone. He just said he had to be someplace else.

QUESTION: Did people thank him for sticking with the June 11th date?

JOHNSON: Well, he got a standing ovation. Even a few people who were kind of upset with because of it still gave him a standing ovation.

QUESTION: So, he addressed the group?

JOHNSON: Yes, he stood up at a podium and talked to us.

QUESTION: Talk to us about the security and the process this morning. Did people park over here or what?

JOHNSON: We had to go through police officer after police officer after police officer. We were parked in the fenced area, at least I hope I still am. My dad's probably took off with my truck. He's starving, he told me. But we were parked in the fenced area.

They had security. We walked in the door. They immediately said this is all that you can take with you, nothing else.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

JOHNSON: Well, I got told we couldn't take pictures or anything, so I didn't bring anything. All I got told was driver's license, keys, any medication. I had to take my asthma, and my dad took his stuff for his heart and just basic necessities and that was it. You couldn't take your purse, nothing.

And we had to go through metal detectors, more security and then when we got over there, it was security everywhere, which made me feel really good because my fear has been somebody was going to do something when we were here.

QUESTION: Did you get pat down?

JOHNSON: We did not get pat down.

QUESTION: Did you go through the security stuff over at this building?

JOHNSON: Here, and then they were very careful over where we were, too. They made sure -- we had to show them and make sure they could see our badges and everything.

QUESTION: You couldn't bring your purse on the bus?

JOHNSON: No, everything had to be left in your car.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

JOHNSON: I don't know. I know that I was. I don't know if my dad was. I've even had -- we even had a family friend who begged us not to go. She had been having horrible nightmares we were going to get blown up. So, I'm sure there were probably a lot more, but I definitely was and I was coming regardless.

QUESTION: What time did you arrive here in the morning?

JOHNSON: I got here at 3:30 this morning.

QUESTION: Were there people already here when you got here?

JOHNSON: There was probably about 20 cars in front of me.

QUESTION: When you got here, did you all have time to chat or was it just you get on the bus or what?

JOHNSON: No. Well, we had a few minutes because they filled the buses up, took us over and then we had lots of time once we got over this there.

QUESTION: Did you chat on the bus?

JOHNSON: No, it was very quiet, very somber. It was really kind of quiet over there because it was one bus and then they brought another bus and you know, people talked and mingled. We ate the little stuff that they had for us to kind of -- we ate over -- they had everything over at the viewing room.

QUESTION: Did they search your body or your person at all?

JOHNSON: They did not me. Now, my dad had to get it done because he had metal boots on, so they had to kind of go over him, scanned him with the wand. But I didn't get searched. I don't know if anybody else did.

QUESTION: They definitely didn't do any kind of patting?

JOHNSON: Not on me.

QUESTION: You drove your truck here?

JOHNSON: I drove my truck here, yes.

JOHNSON: Where are you going afterwards?

JOHNSON: My dad does not want to go to the memorial which is fine with me. I hate downtown anymore. We -- he is wanting to stop and get something to eat because we basically have been up all night long. He said that he was hungry and then we're going to probably just go home and do whatever we need to do.

QUESTION: What do you mean by do whatever you need to do?

JOHNSON: Just try you -- you know, start getting on, you know.

QUESTION: Some of the people prior to you said, let's find out who the victims are. What can you tell us about your mother, why she'll be missed?

JOHNSON: Why will she be missed? Oh, that's a hard one. I will try -- I don't want to start crying on you. Because one thing, when we were waiting, when they came on with CNN and we were waiting for them to announce for you all to know that he was died, I was getting really ticked off. It was McVeigh this, McVeigh that, he was such a good boy, he's such a good boy.

Well, you know what, everybody -- not anybody was talking about all the victims. My mother was a great woman. She was retired from the city of Oklahoma City, had worked for the police department, had been a deputy sheriff. She was the one who had fingerprinted Roger Dale Stafford when he went through the sheriff's department in Oklahoma County.

She was getting ready to retire. She was going to get her quarter horse judging card (ph). Me and her a nephew hauled horses and showed and bred horses, and she helped a niece -- she helped my niece, who did power tumbling, who no longer does that. It was just too hard for her to keep up, both financially and mentally.

She was great. She loved kids. She was wonderful. I know quite a few times -- I would call her and she would be downstairs playing with kids down in the day care instead of doing what she was supposed to be doing. She never saw a stranger. For all of the stuff that she ever done for working for the police department and everything, she never saw a stranger. She never thought anybody was bad until they proved her wrong.

She had a terrible Irish temper, very red-headed. She's passed it on to a niece and a nephew of mine. Maybe one day, my kids will have it. She was a good wife, a good mom. She was my best friend. She was my business partner, and one of the worst fears that I have is people are going to forget her along with everybody else and they're just going to remember this horrible man because he did one thing that did so much damage.

And we can't let that happen. We've got remember all of the people along with the three babies that were never born to see life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

HEMMER: The emotions continue to come to the podium there, where the number of the survivors and families of the victims that watched that closed-circuit feed just outside of town.

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