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Timothy McVeigh dead

Federal Penitentiary Warden Harley Lappin announces the death of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh Monday morning.  

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana (CNN) -- Six years, one month and 23 days after a truck bomb shattered the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, federal prison authorities placed a needle in Timothy McVeigh's right leg and pumped a deadly stream of drugs into his veins.

Warden Harley Lappin announced that the man responsible for the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history was declared dead at 7:14 a.m. (8:14 a.m. EDT).

Federal officials said McVeigh did not make a verbal statement before he was executed by lethal injection. But in a handwritten statement, McVeigh quoted a section of the poem "Invictus," which reads in part "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."

McVeigh, 33, was executed for the April 19, 1995, attack in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people and wounded hundreds more. It was the first federal execution since 1963.

Witnesses said McVeigh lifted his head and made eye contact with them before the drugs took effect.

Then he looked at the ceiling. He died with his eyes open.

Holding photographs of her daughter, who died in the bombing, witness Kathleen Treanor said she needed to see the execution with her own eyes. Treanor was among the survivors and victims' relatives who watched the execution through a closed-circuit television feed more than 650 miles away, in Oklahoma City. (More on victims' reactions)

"It's a demarcation point," Treanor said immediately following the execution. "It's a period at the end of a sentence. It's the completion of justice and that's what I'll remember about today."

Treanor said McVeigh appeared to glare at the camera. Larry Whicher, whose brother died in the bombing, said McVeigh had a defiant stare and showed no remorse.

Ten members of the victims' families and survivors of the bombing watched the execution from a room beside the death chamber at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

McVeigh attorneys Nathan Chambers and Robert Nigh also witnessed the execution in Terre Haute, along with McVeigh biographer Lou Michel, members of the media. and Cate McCauley, former director of the independent Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee.

McVeigh met with his attorneys for the last time early Monday. He declined to have a spiritual adviser present and asked his family not to attend.

McVeigh spent his final night in a windowless 9-by-14-foot holding cell adjacent to the death chamber. Prison officials say his final meal was two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

"Quite frankly, he is ready to die," Nigh said Sunday after a one-hour meeting with McVeigh.

McVeigh has been preparing to die since last December, when he asked U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch to waive all future appeals of his death sentence. Matsch complied in a January hearing and the Bureau of Prisons scheduled his execution for May 16.

His execution date was thrown into doubt, however, when the FBI revealed that it failed to turn over more than 4,400 pages of documents to McVeigh's defense. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft postponed the execution for several weeks, and McVeigh's attorneys sought in vain to delay it further.

Both Judge Matsch and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected McVeigh's attorneys' claims that they needed more time to see if information in the documents could have convinced a jury not to sentence their client to death. McVeigh chose last week not to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, death penalty supporters and opponents gathered overnight in Terre Haute near the federal prison.

About 75 anti-death penalty protesters participated in the two-mile march from St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church to the prison on Sunday. (More on the protests)

"We don't believe the government should have the power to take a human life," Abe Bonowitz, a leader of the anti-death penalty movement, said. "Execution is not the solution."

McVeigh attorney Chambers said the Gulf War veteran didn't intend for his final words to cause more pain, but "the effect that they have is going to be up to the listener."

In excerpts of letters published Sunday in his hometown newspaper, The Buffalo News, in New York state, McVeigh defended the bombing as a "legit tactic," an act of war against what he considers an overbearing federal government.

McVeigh also revealed that at one time he considered having his ashes scattered at the Oklahoma City bombing memorial, but eventually decided against it.

"That would be too vengeful, too raw, cold. It's not in me," he said in a letter.

Chambers said that the final destination of McVeigh's remains would remain privileged forever.

Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, reporters at The Buffalo News and authors of "American Terrorist," said the letters showed that McVeigh remains angry with the federal government and believes his actions were justified.

"He wanted the people of Oklahoma City to know that he held nothing personal against them," Michel said. "His enemy was the federal government. He's sorry that so many people had to die. However, he's not taking back the act."

Herbeck called McVeigh's expression of sorrow "hollow."

"I'm sure it doesn't bring peace to those of Oklahoma City and really it's not an apology -- just an acknowledgment that those of Oklahoma City did suffer, but he still puts all the blame on the federal government."


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

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