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Sister says McVeigh predicted 'something big'


Later she visits him in jail

May 6, 1997
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EDT

DENVER (CNN) -- After two days of damaging testimony linking her brother to the Oklahoma City bombing, Jennifer McVeigh visited him in jail Tuesday night.

She started out the day exchanging a hello and smiles with him. But once on the stand, the 23-year-old college student from upstate New York told the jury that Timothy McVeigh sent her a letter saying that "something big is going to happen," just weeks before the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

She said she burned the letter on his instruction. He did not tell her what the "something big" was, and she says she didn't ask.

The bomb hit the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people.

ATF agents brings back horror of bombing day


After Jennifer McVeigh left the stand Tuesday, prosecutors put on a witness who told of the horror of that April day.

Luke Franey, an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, was on the ninth floor of the building when the bomb went off.

"I heard a loud bang. I heard the girls scream and then I heard a loud rumbling," he said. "I could hear people yelling and screaming."

Franey said he took a few steps, then realized that part of the building had been blown away.

"I could see the drop-off, all the way down," he said.

Prosecutors try to link McVeigh to calling card

Franey Trapped

The prosecution also began a methodical line of testimony designed to link Timothy McVeigh to a prepaid telephone calling card that they believe he used to search for bomb- making materials.

The testimony was so mind-numbing at times that jurors appeared to struggle to pay attention -- and some struggled to even stay awake. At one point, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch warned them to "fortify" themselves to deal with the tedium.

William Sweet, the former marketing director for a right-wing newspaper called The Spotlight that advertised phone card accounts, testified that an account was taken out in the name of Daryl Bridges, which prosecutors allege was an alias used by McVeigh.

Sweet said records showed that the Decker, Michigan, address used for the account was the farm of James Nichols, where McVeigh and Terry Nichols once lived.


McVeigh and Terry Nichols, his alleged co-conspirator, are charged with murder and conspiracy in the bombing. James Nichols has not been charged.

Terry Nichols will be tried separately. Both he and McVeigh could receive the death penalty.

On Wednesday, the prosecution will begin calling 27 other witnesses to build the link between McVeigh and the phone records. Later in the week, Terry Nichols' ex-wife, Lana Padilla, is expected to testify.

Another key witness, Eldon Elliott, the man who says he rented McVeigh the Ryder truck used in the blast, is also expected to take the stand this week.

Letter to ATF found on computer


In her testimony, Jennifer McVeigh testified that she had found a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms written by her brother on her home computer. She testified that she asked him if she should destroy it and was told "something to the effect of 'just leave it there.'"

The FBI seized her computer and found a letter in which McVeigh called the federal agents "mother ------," adding, "Die you spineless bastards."

When she heard that her brother had been arrested, Jennifer McVeigh said she "smoked a lot of cigarettes and burned those clippings," referring to excerpts her brother had sent her from "The Turner Diaries," a right-wing novel the prosecution claims was the blueprint for the bombing.

She said she was afraid the FBI would find her and "want those papers," she testified, adding that she burned them in the garage of a friend she was visiting in Pensacola, Florida.

FBI 'told me ... he was going to fry'

On cross-examination, defense attorney Rob Nigh asked McVeigh's sister a series of questions intended to bolster the defense contention she had been intimidated by the FBI.

"They told me he was guilty and he was going to fry," the witness said, recounting what FBI agents told her.

She said FBI agents displayed posters in the interrogation room bearing pictures of her and her brother and timelines showing their alleged involvement in the bombing.

On the posters, she said, the agents had listed the possible charges she and her brother could face, including treason. She said the agents never explained that she could not be charged with treason except in time of war.

"Did you have any prior knowledge of the bombing?" Nigh asked.

"No," she said.

"Did you have any knowledge about your brother's involvement in any way, shape or form?"


The defense also had Jennifer McVeigh read her brother's bronze star citation in which he was cited for valor during the Persian Gulf War.

Correspondents Tony Clark and Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.  

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