Another potential juror says no to death penalty
Jury selection continues in McVeigh bombing trial
April 2, 1997
DENVER (CNN) -- The 13th prospective juror questioned in the Timothy McVeigh bombing trial cited Biblical texts when she told the judge and prosecutor Wednesday she could not condemn somebody to die.
Questioning of candidates in the morning session of day three moved on at a quicker pace than the first two days of the trial's first phase.
The 14th prospective, another woman, said she's involved in a court fight to save her farm that will conflict with the trial. The 15th was a man, the seventh to be questioned.
The first prospect questioned Wednesday, juror No. 101, quoted the biblical story of how Christ told those about to stone an adulterer, "Let you who is without sin cast the first stone." She told U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, "I don't feel capable of throwing that first stone."
She said she believes there are crimes for which the penalty should be death, but only God can choose.
"Human judgment has angles and agendas and imperfections," she said, "and I don't feel I can condemn someone."
"No matter how I phrase this, you're going to say you are unable to choose a death sentence?" federal prosecutor Pan Ryan asked after a series of questions designed to flesh out her views on capital punishment.
"Yes," answered the woman, a diabetic who works for IBM.
Matsch dismissed the prospective juror for the day and told her she would be informed about a final decision over whether she will serve on the panel.
Attorneys are picking jurors to hear the case against McVeigh, accused of bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City nearly two years ago. The truck bomb explosion killed 168 people and was the deadliest act of terrorism ever on U.S. soil.
The jury pool was reduced to 351 Tuesday when a woman who began sobbing in the jury box was excused. The pool will be reduced to 64 before attorneys begin exercising their preemptory challenges.
The selection process could take three weeks or even longer if the pace does not pick up soon.
The first woman questioned Wednesday was the second prospective juror who said she was opposed to the death penalty. An unemployed pipe-fitter questioned Monday took a similar religiously rooted stance against capital punishment.
A philosophy professor interviewed Tuesday also expressed religious misgivings about the death penalty but said he might be able to consider it in this case.
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