Several children in the Branch Davidian compound on the final day of the 1993 siege were shot and at least one was stabbed, according to autopsy reports presented today in a wrongful-death case against the government.
Government lawyers rested their defense with emotional testimony from an FBI agent who entered the compound and struggled to pull a sect member to safety.
James McGee, a hostage rescue team member, recalled how he watched Ruth Riddle jump from the second floor of the burning building and then walk back inside.
"I found her about 8 to 12 feet inside laying on the floor, laying face down," McGee said. "She was resistant and said, 'No, leave me alone.' "
McGee said Riddle did not respond when he asked where the children were.
"If she had told me, I would have gone after the children or died trying," said McGee, who received a Medal of Valor for his actions.
Closing statements are scheduled for Friday, and U.S. District Judge Walter Smith said he would limit each side to 90 minutes.
Survivors and relatives of the more than 80 Davidians who died in the raid and fire are suing the government for $675 million.
Government lawyers presented the autopsy findings as further proof that cult members were suicidal and started the fires on April 19, 1993, that burned the compound to the ground.
The attorneys read the results of 21 autopsies on adults, children and one infant, some still unidentified, whose remains were recovered after the complex was engulfed in flames. Twenty died of gunshot wounds. One toddler died of a stab wound to the chest.
Cult survivors and relatives say the members were not suicidal and that the government shares responsibility for the deaths on the final day of a 51-day standoff.