McVeigh swallowed hard, his eyes moved from side to side

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The Independent US

After panning the room, pausing to squint toward the tinted window shielding the 10 survivors and victims' representatives, McVeigh rested his shaved head and stared straight up at the closed-circuit camera beaming the execution to about 230 witnesses gathered 620 miles away in Oklahoma City.

He was strapped to a stretcher. A light grey sheet completely covering his arms and legs was neatly folded over about midway up his chest. The tops of his shoulders emerged, covered by a white T-shirt. The outline of his prison-issued slip-on sneakers could be seen through the sheet.

An IV carrying the deadly drugs was already inserted into his right leg. Warden Harley Lappin, standing with his arms crossed, almost at attention, asked McVeigh if he had any final words. There was a one-minute pause. McVeigh's head remained fixed, his eyes still staring into the camera, rarely blinking.

Breaking the silence, the warden began reciting the charges ­ using a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy, and eight counts of murder, stemming from the deaths of eight law-enforcement agents in the federal building. Again, no change in McVeigh's expression, just a focused stare.

"Marshal, we are ready, may we proceed?" the warden asked US Marshal Frank Anderson, the only other person in the death chamber. Anderson picked up a bright red phone from a metal tray attached to the wall. Someone on the other end spoke. Then he hung up the phone and said simply: "Warden, we may proceed with the execution."

Then, again, silence. One of the IV lines extending through the wall jumped slightly, as the first chemical began flowing.

McVeigh swallowed hard. His eyes moved slightly from side to side. His chest moved up and down and his lips twice puffed out air, as if he was trying to maintain consciousness.

A guard in the witness room announced the first drug had been administered. Ten minutes had passed since the execution process officially began. The time was 8.10am (13.10 BST).

McVeigh's eyes remained open, but they began to glass over, and started rolling up just slightly. His pale skin began to turn slightly yellow, almost jaundiced.

At 8.11am (13.11 BST) the guard said the second drug had been administered. The warden looked straight ahead, glancing down at McVeigh just occasionally.

The convicted bomber's lips began to turn the slightest tinge of blue. He was still. His eyes remained open. The time was 8.14am.

It was over.

The writer was one of 10 media representatives who witnessed Timothy McVeigh's execution.

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