In a soft, wavering voice, Randy Weaver told a Senate subcommittee yesterday that he is convinced that his wife's shooting was no accident and that the FBI sniper who killed her could see her clearly through the curtained window panes of their cabin door.

At the time she was killed, Vicki Weaver, 43, was holding the cabin door open for her wounded husband and two others fleeing after the sniper's first shot. Cradling her baby daughter in her left arm, she was shouting "Get in the house! Get in the house" as they ran for cover.

"I believe he {FBI sniper Lon T. Horiuchi} knew my wife was holding the door open," Weaver testified at the opening of hearings that the Justice Department unsuccessfully sought to delay. "Out there, sound carries real well. He {the sniper} knew what was going on."

As his 19-year-old daughter, Sara, at times weeping and shaking, sat behind him, Weaver, 47, gave his first full account of the 1992 standoff at his Idaho home that has become a symbol of excessive law enforcement and has upset the FBI with allegations of a coverup reaching high into headquarters.

The dramatic, day-long testimony, reinforced at the end by Sara Weaver's recollections, conflicted directly on one point after another with government versions of what happened three years ago on the place called Ruby Ridge.

Weaver acknowledged, however, that he was "not without fault in this matter" and that he was convicted of failing to appear for trial on charges of selling two sawed-off shotguns to an informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

"If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would make different choices," Weaver said. He denounced the informant as "a deceitful, lying con man" who had been pushing him for almost three years to make a sawed-off shotgun for him.

Weaver said he should have appeared in court to answer the charges. "But my wrongs did not cause federal agents to commit crimes," he said. "I have been accountable for my choices. They should be held accountable for their wrongs."

The siege started on Aug. 21, 1992, when the Weavers' dog sniffed out three federal marshals who were on a scouting mission near the cabin as part of a long-range plan to arrest Weaver, a white separatist, on the weapons charge. A gunfight erupted between the marshals, in full camouflage, and Weaver's 14-year-old son, Sammy, and family friend Kevin Harris, then 24. Sammy Weaver and one of the marshals, William F. Degan, were killed.

The marshals, who huddled on the mountain all night with Degan's corpse, said they did not know Sammy Weaver lay dead only yards away. But Randy Weaver yesterday accused them of knowing of his son's death and keeping it a secret.

He said Sammy's body was in one position when Kevin Harris saw it immediately after the shooting and in a different position less than an hour later when Randy and Vicki Weaver and Harris picked it up and brought it back to the top of the hill. The surviving marshals, he said, must have examined Sammy's body in the meantime.

The next day, FBI sniper Horiuchi, a member of the bureau's hurriedly summoned Hostage Rescue Team, shot Randy Weaver as he made an unexpected foray outside the cabin with Harris and Sara Weaver. When they ran back to the cabin, Horiuchi fixed his cross hairs on the door and fired again. The bullet went through Vicki Weaver's face and then hit Harris, landing in his chest.

Sara Weaver said it almost hit her too. She said she was just an inch or two behind Harris when Horiuchi fired. "If I had taken one more step, he would have gotten all three of us," she said.

At Weaver and Harris's trial in 1993, Horiuchi testified that he was trying to hit Harris and could not see Vicki Weaver through the curtained window.

The door, which has been sitting in a Boise warehouse in FBI custody, was produced in the hearing room yesterday, with curtains hanging down over the windows. But the curtains could not have been in that position on Aug. 22, 1992, because the bullet hole in them did not line up with the bullet hole in the window pane.

Both Weaver and his daughter said yesterday the curtains were partly pulled back. Sara Weaver said her mother tied them back on each side with blue-checkered ribbons and then tacked them to the door frame.

Those ribbons were not on the curtains yesterday. "I don't know where they are now," Sara Weaver said.

"I believe he {Horiuchi} was trying to take my wife out first and hoping he would hit one of us," Randy Weaver said. He said that Horiuchi could easily have seen his wife when she stepped into full view, outside the cabin, on hearing the first shot; then could have heard her shouting when she moved back to the doorway; and then seen her partly through the window panes as she held the door open.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who treated the Weavers' account throughout the day with more skepticism than did any of the other subcommittee members, disputed Randy and Sara Weaver's suggestions that Horiuchi could have seen Vicki Weaver through the tied-back curtain. But they were steadfast that the sniper was aiming at her and waiting for someone else to come close enough to hit as well.

"He shot my wife in the head and killed her," Weaver testified, voice racked with sobs. "She was not wanted for any crime. There were no warrants for her arrest. . . . As the bullet crashed through her head, she slumped to her knees, holding Elisheba tightly so she would not drop her. We took the baby from her as she lay dead and bleeding on our kitchen floor."

Weaver's lawyers at the hearing, Gerry Spence and Garry Gilman, reminded the subcommittee of a statement Horiuchi made to an FBI "Shooting Review Team" on Sept. 1, 1992. Horiuchi said that "as the shot impacted, I believed that I saw the male subject at whom I'd fired flinch, and I believed that I had hit him low around the hip area."

Harris was behind the door when Horiuchi hit him. "If he {Horiuchi} saw him flinch," Spence said, "he had to see him through the door."

Subcommittee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said Horiuchi would be invited to testify and give his side of the story.

FBI records in the case show that Vicki Weaver was regarded as the key force in the family, someone who an FBI behavioral scientist claimed would kill her children before surrendering. Richard Rogers, then commander of the Hostage Rescue Team, said in an interview with FBI investigators after the siege that he had been told "Vicki Weaver was probably the most dangerous of those in the Weaver cabin based upon her zeal and influence over Randall Weaver."

Rogers has said he received this information before it was learned on Aug. 28, 1992 -- from volunteer negotiator Bo Gritz -- that Vicki Weaver had been killed. Randy Weaver charged yesterday the FBI knew days earlier that she was dead. He said he shouted it through the thin cabin walls and floorboards, especially when he could hear lawmen shuffling around under the cabin, built on stilts.

They were planting electronic bugs. Weaver said he thought they were explosives, but in any case, he said, "it seemed as though every time I went to tell them something important, they couldn't hear me . . . like my wife was dead and all that." He said FBI agents would simply shout back, "Can't hear you, brother; pick up the phone."

Weaver said he wasn't about to do that. The phone was attached to a shotgun-toting robot, he said, with the gun pointing directly at whoever picked up the phone.

Weaver, who wore bluejeans, an open-neck shirt and black-and-white running shoes, now lives in Grand Junction, Iowa, with Elisheba, 3, and another daughter, Rachel, 13.

Spence said one of the shocking aspects of the Weaver case was "the fact that this little man became one of the 10 major cases of the marshals service" and this enabled them to bring in their "Special Operations Group" of "trained killers." Before the crisis ended, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) said, "more than $2 million was spent."

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa.) said that "this is a dark moment for federal law enforcement" and warned that "too many here in Washington do not understand the impact that this has had on the country." He said he was particularly incensed by the "militarization" of law enforcement that sends the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team on domestic assignments with psychological warfare tactics, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and " shoot-to-kill' rules." He was referring to special FBI rules of engagement that were used at Ruby Ridge, saying that any armed male in the vicinity of the Weaver cabin "could and should" be shot.

"There is no room for this culture in law enforcement," Grassley declared. "It needs to be stopped and stopped now."

Specter said nine days of hearings are planned before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on terrorism, but he said he will strive "not to interfere with ongoing potential criminal investigations." Five senior FBI officials, including former deputy director Larry Potts, have been suspended and the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation to determine whether perjury and obstruction of justice were committed, especially in connection with the question of who approved the rules of engagement.

In the hearing room, Weaver commanded rapt attention throughout the day, particularly when he recounted the killing of his son after the boy confronted the marshals who had killed his dog.

"They shot his little arm almost off and they killed him by shooting him in the back with a 9mm submachine gun," Weaver said. "He did not yet weigh 80 pounds. He as not yet five feet tall." After Sammy was killed, he charged, "the marshals checked him and went back into the woods. . . . They knew they killed the kid."

Officials say they did not know young Weaver had been killed until Sunday evening, Aug. 23, when they found his body in an outbuilding where his parents had left him.

Randy Weaver and Harris were acquitted by a federal jury in 1993 of murder and all other significant charges brought against them after the shootout. Jurors concluded the marshals shot first in the gunfight and that Harris, who killed Degan, fired back to protect Sammy Weaver. CAPTION: Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) steadies Randy Weaver during Weaver's testimony about the killing of his wife by an FBI sharpshooter at his remote Idaho home. CAPTION: Randy Weaver dabs away tears as he recounts deaths of wife, son. CAPTION: At the conclusion of Senate hearing, Sara Weaver, 19, is comforted by her lawyer, Michael Mumma. Her recollections reinforced those of her father.