McVeigh makes his final calls to family and friends

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The Independent US

Timothy McVeigh was making final calls to friends and relatives yesterday and shipping his personal belongings home as he prepared for his execution.

Having decided not to make a final appeal to the US Supreme Court, the Oklahoma City bomber will die by lethal injection on Monday morning.

Rob Nigh, the lawyer who has represented McVeigh longer than has any other, said: "I think his resolve was clear. He takes this much more in his stride than probably his lawyers do, most certainly.

"He has family and friends that he must say his goodbyes to. The kind of introspection and psychological preparation he has to go through only he can know."

Officials at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, were due to move McVeigh, 33, from his cell on Death Row to a holding cell at the special execution facility yesterday. The windowless room ­ measuring just 9ft by 14ft ­ is only a few steps from the gurney where at 7am local time on Monday he will be strapped down and executed.

Dan Dunne, the Bureau of Prisons senior spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times: "Everything right now is a go. Our focus is to ensure that everything related to the execution occurs in an appropriate and professional manner."

The prison warden, Harley Lappin, said McVeigh had requested a change in his final meal, though he refused to say what the menu would contain.

Mr Lappin also said that the other 1,300 prisoners at Terre Haute, including the 20 inmates on Death Row, would be placed on "lockdown" from Sunday evening until after the execution. He said the fact that this meant the prisoners would miss a televised National Basketball Association game was not going down well inside the prison.

Lawyers for McVeigh, whose 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people, had sought this week to postpone the execution to give them time to review more than 4,000 documents relating to the case, recently released by the FBI. The US Attorney General, John Ashcroft, initially ordered a stay of the original execution date of 16 May, to give the lawyers 30 days to examine the documents.

The legal team, which claimed the documents showed the FBI have covered up the possibility that someone else "masterminded" the attack, made their application to the US District judge in Denver, Colorado, who heard the original trial. He refused the request and a subsequent appeals court refused to overturn his decision.

The appeals panel said McVeigh was not eligible for a stay of execution because there was no evidence to suggest he was innocent.

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