DENVER -- Ending three weeks of legal turmoil, Timothy McVeigh has halted all further appeals and says he is prepared to die by lethal injection Monday morning for the Oklahoma City bombing.
McVeigh's decision, which clears the way for his execution, came Thursday minutes after a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his request for an execution delay.
He could have petitioned for the full appeals court to consider his request, taken the case to the U.S. Supreme Court or asked President Bush for clemency. Instead, McVeigh was prepared to die, said attorney Rob Nigh.
"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 and other people in his position can know," Nigh said outside the appeals court.
At the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., McVeigh could be moved as early as Friday from his cell to the execution building, a windowless, two-story brick structure surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire. He would be the first federal prisoner executed since 1963.
In Oklahoma City, reaction was mixed among bombing victims' relatives and survivors.
"It's kind of like a burden lifted off my shoulders," said Paul Howell, whose daughter was killed in the bombing and who plans to witness the execution at the prison in Terre Haute. "I'm going to start preparing myself mentally for it now."
Jannie Coverdale, whose two grandsons were killed, wants McVeigh to remain alive because she does not believe the full truth has been told about the bombing. She plans to begin writing letters next week to Attorney General John Ashcroft, congressmen and McVeigh's attorneys to try to get copies of court documents.
But first she will go to her grandsons' graves.
"I have to tell the boys the bad man is dead and he can't hurt anyone anymore," she said.
McVeigh was convicted of murder, conspiracy and mass weapons charges in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The blast killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.
He had stopped his appeals this year and was preparing for his May 16 execution when the Justice Department announced in early May that nearly 4,500 pages and 11 CDs of FBI material had been found that should have been given to his attorneys before his 1997 trial. Ashcroft ordered the execution delayed to give the defense time to review the material.
A week ago, attorneys for McVeigh, a Gulf War veteran, began an aggressive campaign to delay the execution a second time, alleging in a court brief that the government committed a "fraud upon the court" by withholding documents.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch denied McVeigh's request, saying it was clear he was "the instrument of death and destruction" in the bombing, the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil.
His attorneys appealed Thursday, but the three-judge panel ruled that McVeigh "utterly failed to demonstrate substantial grounds" why he should not be put to death.
The attorneys acknowledged that nothing in the FBI documents proves McVeigh is innocent.
In the book, "American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh & the Oklahoma City Bombing," McVeigh admitted he carried out the attack to avenge government raids at the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, and the cabin of white separatist Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
McVeigh also said he has chosen his last words: "I am the master of my fate," an excerpt from William Ernest Henley's 19th-century poem "Invictus."
Nigh said Thursday that McVeigh allowed his appeals to be renewed because he wanted to try to prove the FBI committed fraud by withholding the material. He said he didn't try to talk McVeigh out of his decision because "his mind was resolved."
In a statement, Ashcroft said: "Timothy McVeigh is responsible for the brutal murder of 168 people, including 19 children, and he will now be brought to justice."
Stephen Jones, who represented McVeigh at trial, said McVeigh prohibited his lawyers from pursuing other suspects before the trial and insisted on managing his own defense.
Jones said he was saddened by the court's refusal to delay the execution, set for 8 a.m. EDT Monday.
"I believe he has humanity, and I think the death penalty is inappropriate," Jones said.
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