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It is doubtful, even after all the defense witnesses have testified, that the jurors will feel any more indulgent toward McVeigh or that they will know him any better. He remains a mysterious figure. When he enters the courtroom, he continues to look relaxed and even jocular, until the jury comes in, and then his face goes blank. His only real confidant appears to be Jones. He had a birthday on April 23, when he turned 29; his lawyers gave him two flannel shirts and a box of Peppermint Patties. He spends most of his time in jail reading the piles of mail he receives. He also reads books. Last month it was W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge, and he is now finishing Man's Fate by Andre Malraux. A book about a young man's spiritual quest and one about revolutionaries--McVeigh must be taking both seriously.
If the jury votes for the death penalty, the sentence will not be carried out anytime soon. Both the guilty verdict and the death sentence can be appealed, and this process may take at least three or four years. Should the execution day come, the method will be lethal injection.
McVeigh has evidently agreed to Jones' effort to win him a life sentence, but if he were true to his beliefs, he should welcome the hangman (or hypodermic man). For years, the book he has cherished is The Turner Diaries, a fictional account of an uprising by a courageous band of white supremacists. Earl Turner, the hero, does not flinch at the idea of dying for his cause. Indeed, in the book's final pages he joyfully embraces this fate. "Brothers!" he says, addressing an elite group called the Order. "When I entered your ranks for the first time, I consecrated my life to our Order and to the purpose for which it exists...Now I am ready to meet my obligation fully. I offer you my life." The jury may give McVeigh his chance to do the same.
--Reported by Patrick E. Cole/ Denver and Kevin Fedarko/Oklahoma City