OKLAHOMA CITY, June 2 -- The conviction of Timothy McVeigh has brought a huge sigh of relief to Oklahoma City, where many residents are still trying to cope with the terrorist attack that took 168 lives. The jury of seven men and five women returned its verdict today after 23 hours of deliberation that began Friday.
McVeigh was convicted of three bomb-related charges and of eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of eight federal agents killed by the April 19, 1995 explosion. Outside the auditorium, where relatives and survivors have been able to watch the Denver trial via a closed-circuit television feed, many of them expressed relief that the first chapter of the prosecution is closed. Alice Denison, whose father was one of the Secret Service agents killed in the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, told reporters that justice had been served by the Denver jury's verdict. Denison, who is eight months pregnant, says, 'It's one chapter in a big book, but it's one chapter down.' Her father was Mickey Maroney, one of several Secret Service agents killed on the fifth floor of the building. Denison says she is more gratified 'than I can tell you to know that they got him (McVeigh).' Bud Welch, who lost his daughter in the blast, says he is satisfied with the guilty verdict, but the prospect of the death penalty for McVeigh 'doesn't give me any peace.' Says Welch, 'The reality is that my little girl is not coming back and I have the rest of my life to deal with that.' Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating says he is 'thrilled' by the verdict and hopes it can help his state cope with the tragedy. ---
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