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Victims' Families Take Solace in Execution

Bombing survivors and relatives who watched the closed-circuit telecast of Timothy McVeigh's execution said he stared into the camera almost as if he was glaring at them. It was like "the face of evil," some said.

The telecast of Monday's execution was shown to 232 survivors and family members at the Federal Transfer Center, where a wide-screen television and smaller sets were set up.

In the death chamber at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., the camera was installed overhead, and before his death McVeigh stared straight up, seeming to concentrate on it.

Watching 620 miles away in Oklahoma City, Larry Whicher, whose 40-year-old brother, Alan, was killed, thought "the stare said volumes."

"I think Alan would be pleased, not with the death of Timothy McVeigh but at the toughness and fairness that this nation has shown as a whole," Whicher said.

"I think I did see the face of evil today," said Kathy Wilburn, who grandsons Chase Smith, 3, and brother Colton, 2, died in the April 19, 1995, bombing.

Karen Jones, whose 46-year-old husband, Larry, was killed, said McVeigh "just gave us that same glare that makes me think he got what he wanted. I was thinking he was really scared and he was really evil."

Kathleen Treanor, who lost her 4-year-old daughter and parents-in-law, said the scene at the telecast was quiet and respectful, but Jones said she heard a few people clap after it was over and a few cried.

"I just took a deep breath," Jones said. "It seemed like forever."

At the site of the bombing, now a memorial, no official announcement of McVeigh's death was made. People heard it from radio, or gathered around a small battery-powered television. Many then began to slowly leave.

Janice Smith, whose brother Lanny Scroggins died, prayed with her children and said, "It's over. We don't have to continue with him anymore."

Renee Findley, whose friend 41-year-old Teresa Lauderdale was killed, stood at the memorial with Lauderdale's parents, John and Gloria Taylor.

"There's some relief, but it really doesn't change anything," Findley said. "It still hurts."

At an exhibit at the memorial's museum, a new plaque was installed that read: "McVeigh is executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind."

Earlier, a silent vigil began without fanfare -- 168 minutes, one minute for each victim. Lynne Gist, whose 32-year-old sister, Karen Gist Carr, died, broke into sobs as she knelt at the memorial.

Death penalty protesters gathered at the "Jesus Weeps" statue at nearby St. Joseph's Catholic Church, held hands and recited the Lord's prayer when it was announced McVeigh was dead.

"The U.S. government has chosen to be on the wrong side of history today," said Kevin Acers, president of the Oklahoma City chapter of Amnesty International. He said what McVeigh did was a catastrophe, but his death "accomplishes little or nothing."

Attorney General John Ashcroft, who authorized the closed-circuit telecast, was in Oklahoma City when McVeigh was put to death but did not watch the telecast.

The Justice Department's Susan Dryden said Ashcroft wanted to meet with survivors and relatives, "most importantly so he could once again express his deep sorrow for the loss of loved ones in this terrible tragedy."

Kathy Dutton, who lost a nephew in the bombing, said Ashcroft spoke for about five minutes and apologized for the delay in the execution, originally scheduled for May 16.

McVeigh packed his rage against the government inside a Ryder truck. He lit the fuse on his ammonium nitrate bomb, parked the truck outside the glass-fronted Murrah building and made his escape, leaving Oklahoma City to deal with the horror of its detonation.

Nineteen children in the building's day care center were among those killed when the bomb sheared the face from all nine floors.

"It is definitely time for Mr. McVeigh to go," Martha Ridley, who lost her 24-year-old daughter, Kathy, said as she awaited the telecast. "And the only thing I'm going to say after that is, 'Good, I'm glad he's gone.'"