OKLAHOMA CITY — Federal officials are considering a closed-circuit telecast of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s execution because of the large number of victims and relatives who might want to watch him die.
McVeigh is scheduled to die by injection May 16 at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995.
Eight seats at the prison are open for victims to witness the execution, and the government is sending out letters to 1,100 people asking if they want to attend.
The number of potential witnesses dwarfs those in other cases, and all options are being considered, including closed-circuit television, federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Dan Dunne said.
Eight bombing survivors have asked attorney Karen Howick of Oklahoma City to go to court if necessary to get the closed-circuit telecast. Howick said there is a good chance the government will agree if enough victims are interested.
She said that she knows of no execution in the United States that was shown over closed-circuit television, but no law forbids it.
It was Howick who persuaded Congress to allow McVeigh’s Denver trial to be broadcast in an Oklahoma courtroom for victims’ relatives.
McVeigh is allowed execution seats for two attorneys, a spiritual adviser and three adult family members or friends. The government will have a few seats and the media will be given 10.
McVeigh has halted his appeals and has until mid-February to file a request for clemency from the president.
He would be first inmate put to death by the federal government since 1963.
McVeigh attorney Nathan Chambers said he and his client have taken no position on a possible telecast. “It’s an interesting issue,” he said. “If someone makes a formal application to do that, we’ll address that.”