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Timothy McVeigh Execution Date Set for May 16

Aired January 16, 2001 - 3:04 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: We learned this hour federal officials have set an execution date for convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Prison authorities say they have notified McVeigh he will put to death, per his wish, on May 16.

McVeigh refuses to file any more appeals to his conviction, but still reserves the right to seek executive clemency. McVeigh was convicted of murder and conspiracy for the April, 1995 bombing that killed 168 people in the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. McVeigh is on death row at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. He would die by lethal injection.

Joining us now on the telephone is CNN's Tony Clark, who covered the story extensively.

And, Tony, why the decision by Timothy McVeigh to stop fighting execution?

TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think, Natalie, that is the question that has been asked over and over again. This is being done against his attorney's wishes, against his attorney's advice. And the thing that has been consistent with Timothy McVeigh, throughout his trial, throughout his incarceration, even in some interviews that he has done, is to simply refuse to talk about motives, his plans, or anything like that.

Even in court -- when he was in court last month by teleconference -- there was no indication as to exactly why he wanted to stop all of the appeals. The question came up and he said: "I'm not going to answer that." He simply said that he wanted the appeals to stop, but that he does reserve the right to seek executive clemency within the next 30 days to ask who will be the president of the United States at that the point, George W. Bush, for executive clemency.

He said he wants that option open, but no indication as to why he wants to stop appeals and simply move ahead with the execution date.

ALLEN: Tony Clark, we thank you again -- that execution date for Timothy McVeigh set for May 16 of this year.

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