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Denver courthouse ready for bombing anniversary


McVeigh trial wraps up 3rd week

April 17, 1997
Web posted at: 11:15 p.m. EDT

DENVER (CNN) -- After more possible jurors were questioned Thursday in the Timothy McVeigh trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys left the courthouse under a new gag order that prevents them from talking publicly about the case.

In and around the courthouse, normally tight security was tightened even further with the approach of the Saturday anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, for which McVeigh is standing trial.

Federal officers looked under the hoods of cars and checked beneath vehicles with mirrors on the streets surrounding the Byron Rodgers Federal Building and Courthouse, where the trial is being held. There are concrete barriers around the building, but traffic flows uninterrupted near the downtown federal complex.

McVeigh is charged with murder and conspiracy in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.

On Saturday, the bell at nearby Holy Ghost Catholic Church will ring its bell 168 times. The names of the blast victims will be read at a memorial service.

Potential juror unsure about death penalty


Lawyers will complete their questioning of the 86th juror, a Navy veteran, Friday morning. This is the third full week of the trial.

The 85th person questioned was a widow who said she opposes the death penalty. "I don't think death is a punishment," she said. "If he's (in prison) working, he'll feel it."

Also Thursday, the first lawyer queried as a potential juror struggled with questions about the death penalty, saying she doubted she could "become the executioner."

"I don't know if I would ever sleep again if I made that decision," she said.

The court aims to find 64 potential jurors willing to consider the death penalty if McVeigh is convicted. The final panel of 12 jurors and six alternates will be chosen from that pool before opening statements begin.

Jones 'demonstrates' new gag order

Outside court, McVeigh's attorney Stephen Jones gave reporters a graphic demonstration of what U.S. District Judge Richard Match's new gag order means.

On Wednesday, the judge prohibited anyone connected with the case from making comments outside the courtroom.

When asked what the judge would do if Jones violated the order, the attorney silently whipped out a handkerchief and held it across his mouth.

OKC Trial Special Section

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