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Relatives express mixed feelings after execution

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Larry Whicher, who lost his brother in the bombing, says of McVeigh: "I think he's in hell"  


OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (CNN) -- Some survivors and victims' relatives who watched the execution of Timothy McVeigh on Monday said viewing the convicted Oklahoma City bomber's death by injection was a point of closure, while others said it made little difference.

McVeigh's "eyes were unblinking," said Larry Whicher, whose brother died in the bombing. He watched the execution via closed-circuit video. "I truly believe that his eyes were telling me ... that if he could, he would do it all over again."

One witness to the execution, Sue Ashford, 58, an uninjured survivor of the blast, said she was "elated" by the execution.

Another witness expressed disappointment that McVeigh failed to show any remorse.

"What I was hoping for is that we could see some kind of 'I'm sorry,' but we didn't get anything like that," said witness Paul Howell. "My emotions were that it was just a big relief. Just a big sigh came over my body and it felt real good."

Holding photographs of her daughter, who died in the bombing along with her in-laws, witness Kathleen Treanor said she needed to see the execution with her own eyes.

"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."

Ten of the victim's relatives and survivors actually viewed the execution as official witnesses at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana and 232 others watched via closed-circuit television in Oklahoma City.

In Oklahoma City, some of the survivors and victims' relatives mingled with tourists at a memorial to the dead. A boy was seen kneeling at one of the memorial's 168 chair sculptures, hands folded in prayer. At another of the chairs, which represent those killed in the bombing, a woman with a bouquet of flowers stood weeping.

"I'm glad I was here for my mom," said Larry Whicher, a brother of a bombing victim. "I expected more closure or relief. It really didn't provide as much as I thought it would but time will tell."

"It's over," said Janice Smith, whose brother Lanny Scroggins died in the attack. "There's some relief, but it really doesn't change anything."

Renee Findley, whose friend 41-year-old Teresa Lauderdale was killed, expressed relief that McVeigh was finally dead. "We don't have to continue with him anymore," Findley said. "It still hurts."

One witness said McVeigh's punishment was lenient.

"I don't think he got what he deserved," said Grayson Jones, who viewed the execution via closed-circuit hook-up. "We'll have to settle for that."

howell
Witness Paul Howell: "My emotions were that it was just a big relief"  

But some deliberately ignored the opportunity to see the execution.

"I really don't have a reason," said bombing survivor Richard Williams. "I've told everyone that I support and respect those who did. That's a very personal choice and there is no right or wrong. I just did not feel, for me, that was something that I needed to do."

A 1997 federal trial found that McVeigh was responsible for bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995 -- killing 168 people, including 19 children.

McVeigh was pronounced dead at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, at 7:14 a.m. (8:14 a.m. EDT), said prison Warden Harley Lappin.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft approved the closed-circuit viewing on April 12 after meeting with about 100 survivors and family members who wanted to see McVeigh put to death.

Ashcroft traveled to Oklahoma City to meet with some of the victims' relatives Monday before the execution. He did not stay to watch the closed-circuit feed, the Justice Department said.

Monday's closed-circuit viewing of the execution occurred not far from the scene of the tragedy, at the federal transfer center training facility in Oklahoma City, away from public view.

The video signal from the execution room in Terre Haute was encrypted to guard against interception and transmitted over high speed digital telephone lines, including fiber optic cable, according to attorney Mark Rasch of Predictive Systems.

Fiber optic cable is considered very secure because hackers would have to scour thousands of fibers to find the desired signal that is being broadcast.

CNN Correspondents Ed Lavandera and Ann Kellan contributed to this report.


Greta@LAW






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