McVeigh Makes Deal To Avoid Autopsy

British singer Joss Stone, music producer Quincy Jones, second from left, the Recording Academy President Neil Portnow and music producer Jimmy Jam, right, pose after announcing plans for the Grammy Awards 50th anniversary in Los Angeles Tuesday, May 8, 2007. The music show is set to air live on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008. AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

Timothy McVeigh is preparing to die.

His execution for the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing that killed 168 people and injured over 500 others is set for May 16th at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Vigo County, Indiana, coroner Susan Amos had wanted the execution, by lethal injection, to be followed by an autopsy, in case a lawsuit might later be filed charging that McVeigh was abused while in custody.

But McVeigh, 32, has what his lawyers term "religious, ethical and philosophical objections" to an autopsy.

In a letter to his hometown paper, The Buffalo News, McVeigh says "I was sentenced to death, not to death and disembowelment."

Lawyers for McVeigh reached an agreement with Amos Friday to avoid surgical examination of his body while still checking for signs of any abuse.

The Oklahoman says McVeigh's agreed instead to sign a statement saying he was never abused while in federal custody, a statement that will be presented to him moments before he is executed. He has also agreed to disrobe and be examined just before he is executed and have his body examined by non-invasive means after he is dead.

The deal is off if he refuses to sign the statement saying he was never abused.

The agreement is subject to the approval of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch, in Denver, where attorneys Tuesday filed their arguments in support of the arrangement.

The objection to autopsy isn't the only request McVeigh has made regarding his execution.

Last month, he requested that the execution be nationally televised, something that won't be happening, in what would have been the first public execution in this country since a 1936 hanging in Kentucky.

Some 20,000 people turned out for that.

At least 250 bombing survivors and relatives of bomb victims plan to witness the McVeigh execution and McVeigh has the right to have four witnesses of his own, including a spiritual adviser.

Thousands of people are expected to descend on Terre Haute during the week of the execution and local authorities are already appealing to the federal government for $90,000 to cover the cost of handling the situation.

"There are certain pieces of equipment that normally we wouldn't need, except for an event like this," explains Jeff Trotter, assistant chief of the Terre Haute police department, which is asking the feds to also provide visors and shields to protect police officers on crowd duty.

Some 124 officers and 40 people in support positions will be on duty as part of the police response to the expected crowds.

Some people will be there to demonstrate for and against the execution, others just want to be there, and at least 1,550 will be there to report the story.

That's the number of requests for media credentials the police department has received to date.

Trotter says the police department is on the alert for any possible threat of violence

"The militia groups don't really want to have anything to do with Timothy McVeigh, due to what happened to the kids (in the daycare center at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City), that's taboo to them," says Trotter. "They really don't want to touch this, but it really only takes one person to create havoc and we all know what happened in Oklahoma City."



By Francie Grace © MMI Viacom Internet Services Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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