McVeigh handed death penalty for Oklahoma bomb

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The Independent Online
Church bells tolled in Oklahoma City yesterday as a Denver jury sentenced Timothy McVeigh to death for the bombing of the Alfred P Murrah building in which 168 innocent people died two years ago.

"Justice has been done," one Oklahoma pastor declared on live TV. The seven-man, five-woman jury deliberated 11 hours before reaching their sentence, two weeks after they found McVeigh guilty of conspiracy and murder.

As it was read out, the 29-year-old former soldier did not flinch or blink, it was reported. He mouthed "It's OK" to his mother, while the sister called to testify against him by the prosecution broke down sobbing. Bombing survivors and victim's families in the court began to weep.

McVeigh will be scheduled to die by lethal injection, though a series of appeals is expected to take three years or more. His lawyer, Stephen Jones, yesterday said the jury's verdict is "entitled to respect... until such time as it is over-ridden." But legal observers say the tight handling of the case by the judge left few grounds for appeal.

McVeigh's sentence clears the way for the trial of his co-accused, Terry Nichols, who also faces the death penalty. Mr Nichols is charged with helping plan and prepare the attack on the US Government building, but not of planting the bomb itself, as was McVeigh. His attorneys will reportedly try to argue that there was another accomplice.

The crime the death penalty was made for, page 18