McVeigh vs. McVeigh
Defendant's sister to testify
May 4, 1997
DENVER (CNN) -- Jennifer McVeigh will be an unlikely witness for the prosecution when she takes the stand Monday in the trial of her brother, Timothy McVeigh.
Just a year and a half ago she described her brother as "a normal person."
"He's not this evil thing you're painting him to be. He's like you and I," she said.
But now she's expected to help paint the prosecution's picture of a man whose anti-government fervor drove him to commit the worst terrorist act in U.S. history.
Jennifer McVeigh will be asked about the letter prosecutors say Timothy McVeigh sent her in the weeks before the bombing saying, "Something big is about to happen." She destroyed the letter.
On her home computer, the FBI found a letter investigators say Timothy McVeigh wrote to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It read: "All you tyrannical mother------- will swing in the wind one day for your treasonous actions against the Constitution and the United States. Die you spineless bastards."
Veteran criminal defense attorney Walter Gerash suggests Jennifer's testimony against her brother will be tough to impeach. "When family testifies against family, unless there's some reason for it, people tend to believe that it's true."
"When family testifies against family ... people tend to believe that it's true."
Prosecutors say McVeigh planted the bomb that destroyed the Oklahoma City federal building on April 19, 1995, a blast that killed 168. He is charged with murder and conspiracy.
His former Army buddy Terry Nichols is also charged and will be tried separately at a later date. Both could face the death penalty if convicted.
For McVeigh, who has so far watched the trial's proceedings with dispassion, the testimony of his sister may be difficult to stomach.
"He will have to reorganize the kind of paranoid system of good guys, bad guys, the evil government and the righteous warrior, and put her into the bad guy camp," psychologist Paul Berg said.
When asked during her most recent interview whether she believed her brother was innocent, Jennifer said, "I don't know."
Defense sources insist Jennifer McVeigh's testimony will do little more than confirm her brother's anti-government political views, which are not in dispute. But there's little question her time on the stand will be powerful and dramatic.
T H E B O M B I N G / C N N S T O R I E S / L I N K S
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