McVeigh asks to waive appeals, set execution

Associated Press

DENVER – Timothy McVeigh asked a federal judge to stop all appeals of his conviction in the Oklahoma City bombing and to set a date for his execution.

In a federal court filing made public today, McVeigh said he wanted to waive further review of his case by the courts. However, McVeigh reserved the right to seek executive clemency, his lawyer said.

Justice Department spokeswoman Chris Watney had no comment.

McVeigh has filed two unsuccessful appeals, and his lawyers had been researching additional challenges.

The former Army soldier asked that the execution date be set within 120 days of his Dec. 7 statement, which was filed with the court on Monday.

McVeigh said he believes he is competent to make the decision but will undergo a court-ordered psychological evaluation. “I will not justify or explain my decision to any psychologist, but will answer questions related to my competency,” he wrote.

He also acknowledged that he submitted the statement against the advice of his attorneys.

Nathan Chambers, one of McVeigh’s lawyers, said: “He’s reserving the right to petition for executive clemency.” The lawyer would not comment on his discussions with McVeigh.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch could approve McVeigh’s request, reject it or order a competency hearing first.

McVeigh was convicted of murder and conspiracy and sentenced to death in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people and injured more than 500.

In an appeal decided in March 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court left intact McVeigh’s conviction and death sentence, rejecting his contention that his trial was tainted by jury misconduct and news reports that he confessed to his lawyers. In October, Matsch denied McVeigh’s second appeal, which contended trial attorney Stephen Jones failed to represent him adequately.

McVeigh’s decision surprised Duane Miller, 59, of Oklahoma City, who survived the bombing.

“This has drug on for five-plus years. He’s fought tooth and nail every step of the way,” Miller said. “I’m curious to see what made him change his mind.”

Jannie Coverdale of Oklahoma City, whose two grandsons died in the bombing, said: “I want him executed, but still there’s nothing to celebrate.”

McVeigh’s former Army buddy, Terry Nichols, was convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy and sentenced to life in prison.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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