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Breaking News

Judge Accepts McVeigh's Request for Expedited Death Sentence

Aired December 28, 2000 - 3:37 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: OK, Wendy, let me interrupt you one second. We have Lorraine Kim -- Lilian Kim, I'm sorry, a CNN correspondent who has been covering the trial for us. Lilian, is it over?

LILIAN KIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they just wrapped up.

COSSACK: What happened?

KIM: Well, Timothy McVeigh appeared in federal court here in Denver, not in person, but through a video conference call. McVeigh had asked U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch to put a stop to his appeals process and set an execution date. To make a long story short, Judge Matsch accepted his decision.

For 30 minutes, Judge Matsch asked McVeigh a number of questions to determine if McVeigh is competent to make his own decision. He asked him if he reviewed the request submitted to court that asked to put a stop to the appeals process. McVeigh replied, yes, I reviewed it before signing it. What's interesting is he did not waive his right for executive clemency, so that is still a possibility.

Also the judge told him quote, "You can change your mind." McVeigh said he is well aware of that. He also asked him did conditions in prison influenced your decision? McVeigh said he was not under no duress or coercion by prison workers or by anyone else. The judge also asked McVeigh if he was on medication. McVeigh said that he is on heartburn medication, but he has not taken any medication within the last 24 hours. He also asked him if anyone pushed you into making this decision. McVeigh said no. In fact, he said people have opposed the decision.

And finally, the judge told McVeigh, it's no extension to file a notice of appeal. It's filed by January 11th, and a date will be set for execution by lethal injection, and McVeigh replied, quote, "I do not foresee changing my decision by January 11th."

So, that is the latest from Denver.

COSSACK: All right, Lilian, let me ask you a follow-up question. So, it's my understanding is that the judge gave him a grace period to change his mind up to January 11th. Is that right?

KIM: That is correct. He must file a notice of appeal for an extension by January 11th. If he does not, then a date will be set for execution by lethal injection.

COSSACK: All right, now did the judge ever ask him why he wanted to do this?

KIM: He did not, surprisingly, because that's what a lot of people wanted to know. McVeigh did say that it was his own decision, that no one coerced him into doing it, and, in fact, people opposed his decision; people that he was close to, especially lawyers that he has been working with that. But he did not explain what his rationale was.

COSSACK: All right, Lilian Kim our reporter on the scene in Denver. Thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate that report.

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