Pressure grows to sentence bomber to death

McVeigh trial: Jury to hear pleas from families for killer to pay ultimate price

The jurors who found Timothy McVeigh guilty were asked yesterday to take a look at the "hard, cold facts" of the case, and make him pay with his life for the Oklahoma City bombing.

The 29-year-old former soldier, a decorated gunner in the Gulf war, knew "exactly what the effects of this bomb were going to be," prosecutor Patrick Ryan said.

The victims already had "all the sympathy they can stand," Mr Ryan said. They are lined up in the coming days to demand justice. The jury were to hear from a 10-year-old boy who lost his mother and a rescue worker who held a victim's hand, only to feel the pulse slow and stop.

McVeigh was found guilty on Monday of all 11 counts of bombing, conspiracy, and murder. He faces a minimum of life in prison.

But the penalty stage of the trial, with a witness list of more than 100 people in a hearing expected to last several days, will be bitterly fought. From the start, US officials from President Bill Clinton down have promised the ultimate penalty for the bombers.

McVeigh's defence team, meanwhile, faced with a likely guilty verdict, has long set its sights on keeping him alive. His lawyers include several veterans of death cases in Texas, a state which has put 23 people to death this year alone.

The jury of seven men and five women runs from a grandmother who remembered praying for the victims of the bomb, to computer workers, a maintenance man who reads the Bible once a week, a Vietnam War veteran, and a woman teacher who said McVeigh "looks like a nice kid".

All were passed during the jury selection as "death qualified", meaning they were prepared to consider the death penalty as the law required it, and had no moral, spiritual or personal objections that ruled it out. Most said it was acceptable in some cases.

Judge Richard Matsch said he would allow photographs of maimed survivors to be introduced along with pictures of victims being wheeled into hospitals, and evidence that some of the victims died slowly as gravel and dust filled their longs.

"We can't sanitise this scene," he said. He drew the line, however, at wedding photos and a poem by a victim's father. He promised the defence the chance to grill witnesses on whether they had been influenced by earlier trial testimony.

"A penalty phase cannot be turned into some kind of lynching," he said. "This cannot become a matter of such emotional testimony which would inflame or incite the passions of the jury."

The defence has long faced the problem that McVeigh shows every outward sign of perfect sanity, and though he is said to have been driven by overwhelming hate for the US government, he has the look of a boy-next-door, and has never shown in public the slightest remorse, or even doubt. There was no hint yesterday on whether McVeigh himself would plead for clemency. Instead friends and family will testify to his loyalty and likeability, his small-town upbringing, his parents' divorce and his absent mother, and possibly his failure to qualify for the US special forces after he left the army.

They may also probe the reasons for his anger at the government - the botched siege of armed cultists at Waco, Texas, and the bloody stand-off with white supremacists in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, both causes celebres in the militia circles he travelled. The prosecution yesterday again cited the Turner Diaries, a racist novel of a white supremacist uprising. Mr Ryan quoted passages from the book about a fertiliser bomb that could cause a "shockingly large number of victims."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform