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DENVER (AP) June 3, 1997 - Before he became the worst terrorist in the
United States, Timothy McVeigh was a son of divorced parents, an Army
sergeant who served honorably in the Gulf War, and a misguided patriot.
Jurors will have to decide in a hearing slated to begin Wednesday
whether the life McVeigh led before he detonated a truck bomb in
Oklahoma City - killing 168 people - is a reason to spare his life now.
In making that decision, jurors may get to hear from 29-year-old McVeigh
himself, who never took the stand at the trial that ended in his
They will certainly hear from friends and relatives of those killed in
the April 19, 1995, blast, many of whom are expected to demand
retribution for the loss of loved ones.
Yet revenge is not the same as justice, say lawyers involved in death
"The government will make an argument that justice requires the death of
Tim McVeigh," Denver defense lawyer David Lane said. "You're going to
see thunder, brimstone, blood and hell fire."
The challenge for McVeigh's lawyers is to convince just one person that
a prison term, not execution, would be just punishment.
"Can they hit some button on one of these jurors to cause a life
sentence?" Lane said.
Lawyers were scheduled to return to the federal courthouse today to
determine what evidence will be admitted during the penalty phase, which
is expected to take about 1½ weeks.
The verdict, reached shortly after noon after 23½ hours of deliberations
over four days, elicited both cheers and tears from bombing victims and
family members in Denver and Oklahoma City.
McVeigh sat impassively at the defense table, his hands in a
white-knuckle clasp, as U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch read "guilty"
to each of the 11 counts of murder and conspiracy he faced.
Two red-eyed jurors held tissues in their hands and appeared close to
McVeigh was escorted out by four U.S. Marshals. He shook the hands of
two of his lawyers and exchanged whispered words with one on his way
Inside the courtroom, more than two dozen people fought back tears and
many broke into sobs and embraced each other. One man thrust his fists
into the air.
"We were holding hands and praying and crying," said Katherine Alaniz,
whose father, Claude Medearis, was killed. "My mom reached into her
purse and handed me his wedding ring and, of course, I just lost it."
Bud Welch stood in downtown Oklahoma City near the site of the bombing,
where cheers erupted from more than 500 people who got news of the
verdict on televisions set up on the sidewalk.
"I thought it'd all be joy, but it isn't," Welch said. "A very dull
victory. The bottom line is my little girl isn't coming back and I have
the rest of my life to deal with that."
Sentiments from people like Welch will be presented to jurors during the
penalty phase to demonstrate the enormity of a crime that cast a
spotlight on America's militia movement and like-minded right-wing
Prosecutors may show a home video of 1-year-old Baylee Almon's first
and only birthday party. The infant became a symbol of the bombing after
a picture of her body, cradled in the arms of a firefighter, was
published in newspapers around the world.
Defense lawyers plan to call people who can talk about McVeigh's
difficult childhood in the small town of Pendleton, N.Y., his parents'
divorce, his loyalty as a friend and decorations earned as an
armored-vehicle gunner in the Persian Gulf.
His father, Bill McVeigh, is expected to take the stand, as is his
sister, Jennifer, who provided evidence against him when she talked of
his anti-government views.
James Nichols, who lived with McVeigh and whose brother is to be tried
in the bombing as well, will testify.
And both sides will look to Waco, Texas, to advance their cases.
Prosecutors accuse McVeigh of bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal
Building in retaliation for the FBI's fatal raid on the Branch Davidians
near Waco two years beforehand. McVeigh, they said, was a hateful man
whose twisted beliefs on government led him to murder 168 innocent
The defense concedes McVeigh was upset by Waco, and may call several
Waco experts to testify about the government's oft-criticized conduct
during the raid.
The jurors - seven men and five women - can sentence McVeigh to death by
injection, life in prison or a lesser sentence determined by the judge.
Some expressed reservations about the death penalty during the jury
selection process, but all said they could impose it if justified.
If the jury cannot unanimously agree, Matsch can impose a sentence of up
to life in prison without parole. If the jury decides McVeigh should be
executed, the judge cannot overrule it.
Prosecutor Joseph Hartzler, who has multiple sclerosis, stopped his
electric wheelchair to speak briefly to the crush of reporters following
"We're obviously very pleased with the results. We always had confidence
in our evidence," he said. "We're ready to move on to the next stage."
Lead defense lawyer Stephen Jones, who shook Hartzler's hand after the verdict, said, "We will be ready for the second stage."
PECOS, June 3, 1997 - Funding for a local learning program has been
awarded, but who will run it is in question.
The Head Start Division of the Reeves County Community Council in Pecos
has been awarded a $346,306 grant to continue its Head Start Program
through February 1988, U.S. Sen Phil Gramm announced.
"This is the regular grant we get every year for the Head Start
program," said community council board president Linda Clark.
The grant is utilized for everything involved in the program including
salaries and equipment, according to Clark.
"They had some individuals who came out to monitor the program here in
Pecos a couple of weeks ago and they will let us know July 1 of their
decision," said Clark.
The program has been in jeopardy since late last year, when the program
was monitored and deficiencies were found.
"This doesn't mean the program will close its doors, that there won't be
a head start program," said Clark.
What it means, however, is that the community council may no longer run
"They came out in December of last year and found some things that
weren't in compliance, but those things have since been corrected," said
After this recent assessment, the individuals who were here monitoring
the program will take their findings to their administrators in Dallas
who will then render a decision as to who will run the facility.
"They will put it out for bids and decide who will run the facility, if
they don't want the council to do it," said Clark.
Clark stated that they're hoping the council will once again get to be
in charge of the facility.
"All compliances have been met and we're hoping the council will get to
keep it," she said.
The money is already there, was issued in March to be used for the
1997-1998 school year.
"The program will not close, contrary to some beliefs, it will just be
run by another entity, if that's what the people in Dallas decide," said
Bids will be taken for the program to be taken over by another entity
within this region.
"This region is very big and they could award the bid to another entity,
but I have a real good feeling that it will be the council who gets to
run it again," Clark said.
The funding will be provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Through the Administration for Children and Families, the department
offers a broad range of programs to encourage full development of
As one of those programs, Head Start provides both health and academic
services to pre-school children with the goal of enhancing their ability to learn and develop during their early school years.
The Athletic Swimming Pool, located at Maxey Park, will open for the
public on Thursday.
The pool was expected to open earlier, but due to unexpected
circumstances it will open a couple of days later.
Operating hours for the pool will be 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through
The Miniature Golf Course will also open on Thursday.
Hours for the course will be from 6-10 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.
Refreshments will be sold and individuals can make reservations now for
The North-Side Swimming Pool at the corner of Walnut and B streets will
open June 10 and will operate from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Haggard said anyone who would like to join that ministry may contact him
at the Big Bend Baptist Church, Box 529, Terlingua TX 79852.
Big Bend church members also maintain storage trailers for donated
clothing, which they sort and give to those in need. Other storage vans
hold food, furniture, household goods and lumber.
"A dentist comes one weekend a month for a free clinic," said Haggard,
who lives in half of the trailer that houses the clinic.
Haggard is one of three ministers who live on the grounds of the church
and do what they can to meet the spiritual and physical needs of people
along La Frontera, the frontier.
New telephone system, hospital board topic
Reeves County Hospital District board members will discuss a pending
lawsuit and a new telephone system for the hospital during a special
meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Board members will meet at 12:15 p.m. in executive session to discuss
Ortega vs. Reeves County Hospital, while in open session, they will
discuss and consider bids for a replacement telephone system.
Prior to the meeting, the district's strategic planning committee will
meet at 11 a.m. in the hospital classroom and will discuss the phone
system, along with renovation of clinic space at the hospital. The
purchase of lawn sprinklers and a new washing machine for the hospital laundry are also on the planning committee's agenda.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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