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Timothy McVeigh
Timothy McVeigh (AP)

Jury convicts McVeigh on all counts.
(June 2, 1997)

McVeigh is sentenced to death.
(June 13, 1997)

McVeigh Conviction Is Upheld

By Steven K. Paulson
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, September 9, 1998; 4:11 a.m. EDT

DENVER (AP) -- The emotional testimony from relatives of those who died in the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building was correctly included at trial, a federal appeals court said in upholding Timothy McVeigh's conviction and sentence.

McVeigh had appealed on grounds that the testimony produced a verdict and sentence based on emotion rather than reason, but the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected his arguments.

``The devastating effects that the deaths of the victims had on their families and loved ones is certainly part and parcel of the circumstances of the crime properly presented,'' the court said.

The three-judge panel also rejected eight other avenues of appeal, including pretrial publicity, juror misconduct and barred testimony alleging that others may have carried out the worst-ever bombing on American soil.

McVeigh was convicted of murder and conspiracy in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and sentenced to death. The blast killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

Rob Nigh, who is handling McVeigh's appeal, was disappointed with the ruling.

``We're not done yet,'' Nigh said.

McVeigh, 30, still has at least two years before he exhausts his appeals and faces execution by injection. He next will seek a rehearing from all 12 judges on the 10th Circuit. He then can go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

McVeigh objected to testimony such as that from Pamela Sue Whicher, who told jurors how her children regretted not hugging their father good-bye; he died in the blast.

Also among the 38 witnesses who testified was Diane Leonard, who described her vain search of hospitals for her husband. Kathleen Treanor recounted the return of her deceased daughter Ashley Eckles' hand six months after the 4-year-old girl died in the blast.

Treanor, who testified during the trial's penalty phase that she ``wanted to die because my daughter was gone,'' said Tuesday that McVeigh must pay for what he did.

``I doubt very seriously at this point that he has a snowball's chance in appealing the death penalty,'' Ms. Treanor said. ``Get him straight to the electric chair and be done with it.''

The court said there was no misconduct when a juror decided McVeigh's guilt before the trial was over, and that McVeigh was not deprived of a fair trial despite media reports that he had confessed to his lawyers.

Judges did criticize The Dallas Morning News and Playboy magazine for ``a lack of self-restraint and ethical compass for printing their stories'' about a purported confession.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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