McVeigh delay is right thing to do, county officials agree
With more than 3,100 previously overlooked documents delaying Timothy McVeigh's scheduled execution a month to June 11, it is uncertain how many of those documents involved interviews in Kingman.
McVeigh, a former Kingman resident, was convicted in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P.
Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City.
A total of 168 people died in the blast.
According to a letter to McVeigh's attorneys, the FBI said the documents consisted of investigation reports and physical evidence, including photographs, tapes, and written correspondence.
Four pieces of evidence came from the Phoenix office.
The FBI letter stated that the released documents do not have any bearing on the federal convictions or sentences of Timothy McVeigh or Terry Nichols.
"I agree with the Attorney General (John Ashcroft)," Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan said.
"The Constitution prevails in this matter.
They have to make sure all the information is turned over to the defense."
Sheahan said he had no idea why the documents were released just days before McVeigh's original scheduled execution May 16 of if the documents involved the FBI's investigation in Kingman.
He also could not predict if McVeigh would get another trial.
"The sad thing is this is very difficult on the families of the victims," he said.
"I hope it's just a 30-day delay and the sentence will be carried out."
Lake Havasu City defense attorney Vincent Iannone, who is currently defending murder suspect Charles Ellison and has been involved in other high profile cases, agreed that delaying the execution was the correct move.
"After they (FBI) withheld information from the defense team? Absolutely," Iannone said.
Without knowing the contents of the just-released documents, Iannone could not speculate whether McVeigh will receive a new trial.
Mohave County Public Defender Dana Hlavac also said the delay, if unpopular, was necessary.
"It preserves the integrity of the system," he said.
"What if it points to somebody else? It is incredibly commendable for Attorney General Ashcroft to release the documents.
Will it change the outcome? Probably not."
Hlavac also could not comment on the timing of the documents release or if McVeigh would get another trial.
"Regardless of the timing it is important for McVeigh and the defense team to review the documents," he said.
"But the timing is unfortunate.
A lot of people want closure on this."