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Newspaper: McVeigh Took Responsibility For Bombing

May 17, 1995

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Timothy McVeigh has claimed responsibility for the Oklahoma City bombing and said the target was chosen because it housed so many government offices and was more vulnerable than other federal buildings, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Times based its report on two anonymous sources who said they have talked to McVeigh in jail since his arrest 75 minutes after the April 19 explosion. Late Tuesday, McVeigh’s lawyer, Stephen Jones, said he doubted that McVeigh had made such a jailhouse confession.

Jones said that inmates often come forward with such purported confessions in order to settle a score, gain publicity, or cut a better deal for themselves.

``I guess I look at it a little differently than the media because I have practiced law nearly 30 years and I was trying to remember if there had ever been ... a capital case where the death penalty is being sought and somebody didn’t come forward and say, `John Doe confessed in jail and this is what he told me,‴ Jones said.

The Times quoted the sources as saying that McVeigh told them he didn’t know there was a day care center in the building and was surprised to learn that children had died in the bombing.

McVeigh told the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, that planning for the bombing began at least nine months ago and Oklahoma City was one of several cities that had been considered in the Midwest.

Earlier Tuesday, Jones filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking a 30-day delay of the building’s demolition so defense experts can inspect the site and take pictures and measurements.

U.S. Magistrate Ronald Howland did not immediately rule on Jones’ motion. McVeigh and an Army buddy, Terry Nichols, are the only suspects so far to be charged in the terrorist attack that killed 168 people. Both are being held at a federal prison in El Reno.

The Times quoted its sources as saying that while McVeigh took responsibility for bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, he does not believe it was a crime.

The sources told the paper that McVeigh had been in Oklahoma City at least once before the bombing and had looked at the building but had not gone inside.

McVeigh reportedly told the sources that the design of the federal building, which officials have described as uniquely vulnerable to damage, greatly influenced the choice of the building.

The sources told the paper McVeigh was motivated by anger at the government’s 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas; the 1992 killing of the wife and son of white supremacist Randy Weaver; as well as a general hostility toward the government.

The sources revealed only a few details of the plot to the Times. They didn’t say how the plot was financed, how many people were involved, or where and how the bomb was built. They said McVeigh spoke little about Nichols but did tell them Steven Colbern wasn’t involved.

The paper quoted the sources as saying that McVeigh also told them he used 250 miles of back roads to avoid scrutiny when he drove the Ryder truck in which the bomb was packed from Kansas to Oklahoma City.

He also reportedly told them he drove his 1977 yellow Mercury to Oklahoma City at least a few days before the bombing and parked it in a downtown lot but forgot to put the license plate on the car. That oversight led to his arrest.

``I don’t know how to explain that gap in his planning or his organization,″ the Times quoted one source as saying. ``The primary objective was obviously the building itself.″

The Washington Post reported in Wednesday’s editions that a motorist caught a fleeting glimpse of a man with a crew cut rushing across a street toward a parking lot from the Oklahoma City federal building shortly before 9 a.m.

The motorist, identified only as Witness One, may turn out to be the best _ and perhaps the only _ eyewitness account placing McVeigh at the bombing scene, the newspaper said, quoting law enforcement officials and court documents.

The Post said several other witnesses have offered contradictory statements and fuzzy recollections about McVeigh’s movements the morning of the bombing.

In other developments Tuesday:

_ The medical examiner’s office positively identified the bodies of three infants pulled from the rubble. DNA tests confirmed the victims were 7-month-old Tylor Eaves, 5-month-old Antonio Cooper, and 3-month-old Gabreon Bruce.

_ Families of two women whose bodies remain entombed in the building are ``extremely distraught″ over efforts to delay the building’s demolition, Ray Blakeney, chief of operations for the medical examiner’s office, said Tuesday.

Officials hope they will be able to recover the bodies of Christy Rosas, 22, and Virginia Thompson, 56, once the building is imploded.

_ In Phoenix, Colbern, 35, was ordered held without bond, charged with resisting arrest when federal marshals took him into custody Friday in Oatman, Ariz. He allegedly pulled a gun on the marshals.

Colbern, who was arrested on a 1994 gun charge, is a chemistry graduate who may have been an associate of McVeigh. The Times reported Wednesday that investigators have concluded Colbern did not take part in the bombing but are hoping he can provide clues to McVeigh’s movements, associates and finances in the months before the bombing.

_ In Kingman, Ariz., a second man sought in a Feb. 21 house explosion was found Tuesday in a hospital. There has been speculation that explosion was related to the bombing. Clark Vollmer, 41, was admitted to Kingman Regional Medical Center on Monday night with an ulcer, said hospital spokeswoman Carla Malvick.

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