Lawyer says convicted bomber ready for execution
McVeigh 'wants this to come about'
TERRE HAUTE, Indiana (CNN) -- Less than two days before he is to be put to death, Timothy McVeigh is "doing very well" and wants the execution to take place, his lawyer, Attorney Robert Nigh, told CNN Saturday.
"He wants this to come about," said Nigh.
The man convicted of the worst terrorist act on U.S. soil is prepared to die, and prefers that to spending the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole, Nigh said.
The attorney said McVeigh's family received a phone call from him Saturday. He refused to characterize the nature of the phone call, but did say that McVeigh's family was happy to hear from him.
Earlier, Nigh said in an interview with CNN Correspondent Susan Candiotti that McVeigh would tell his family good-bye and "give them his condolences."
Asked what he meant, he said McVeigh was going to express his sorrow that he has to leave them this way.
"He's visualizing them so he is mentally prepared to be executed," Nigh said.
In addition, McVeigh was spending Saturday "trying to take care of personal things," writing letters and giving away his personal property -- a few items of clothing and stamps.
"He's clearly not apprehensive," Nigh said about the 33-year-old Gulf War veteran. He credited McVeigh's military training for his state of mind. "They put him in a position to be prepared that his life will be taken. He is dealing with it very well."
McVeigh is scheduled to die at 7 a.m. (8 a.m. EDT) Monday for his role in the 1995 bomb blast outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.
McVeigh has made plans for a final meal -- Sunday lunch -- but Nigh would not give details. "I'm not going to talk about that, because it's offensive to me that anyone has to have a last meal," he said.
McVeigh's selection of that meal is limited to fare from the prison kitchen or to food ordered from a nearby restaurant, with a maximum tab of $20. That will give him time to digest the food before his execution.
McVeigh expressed disappointment at the news that Gore Vidal, the author who was one of five witnesses he had been allowed to invite to the execution, would not attend, Nigh said. But McVeigh, noting the Bureau of Prisons requirements for clearance and the limited time left, will not try to have someone else substitute, Nigh added.
Preparations for an execution
As McVeigh made his last preparations, officials here went about the nitty gritty Saturday of preparing to put him to death.
The prisoner is scheduled to receive a lethal injection of chemicals in the death chamber in a one-story, windowless brick building on the west side of the prison campus. (More on the execution protocol)
Equipment in the death chamber, which has never been used before, was checked Saturday as was a closed-circuit video feed of the execution that will be watched by about 300 survivors and family members of victims in Oklahoma City.
There, at the federal transfer center at Will Rogers Airport, folding chairs set up opposite a movie screen filled a large white room. At the front of the room hung an American flag.
Harley Lappin, warden at the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary, said that if a court orders a videotape of the execution made, he is prepared to do that, too.
A lawyer in an unrelated case had asked that McVeigh's execution be videotaped so that he can use it in his trial as a way to show that execution by lethal injection would violate the Constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment.
A federal appeals court panel Friday threw out a lower court order that would have required the Justice Department to videotape the execution, but the lawyer filed an application for appeal of that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday. (More on the appeal)
The Justice Department filed a response Saturday night opposing the appeal.
Meanwhile, access to the prison property -- where McVeigh has been imprisoned for nearly two years -- has been limited, to keep out sightseers.
Extra police officers were deployed outside the prison grounds, and a Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms bomb truck was in town.
Two groups of demonstrators -- those opposed to the execution and those in favor of it -- planned to express their views in separate areas of the 33-acre prison grounds. Although only a few had shown up Saturday, officials said they were prepared to accommodate hundreds.
In Oklahoma City, Gov. Frank Keating said no special preparations were being made for the execution.
"I expect most people take the view that this person is evil," he said. "This person plucked out of our society 168 of our neighbors and injured a lot of others, and if we don't see him again, that's great news for all of us."
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