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This Day in History

World History

Friday, June 13, 1997. :   Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is sentenced to death.

     On 19 April 1995, Oklahoma City was the target of a terrorist attack. At 9:02am, a rented truck containing about 2,300 kg of explosive material exploded in the street in front of the Alfred P Murrah federal building, a US government office complex. The truck bomb was composed of ammonium nitrate, an agricultural fertiliser, and nitromethane, a highly volatile motor-racing fuel. 168 were killed in the explosion, including 19 children attending a day-care centre in the building. 800 more people were injured, while over 300 buildings in the surrounding area were destroyed or seriously damaged, leaving several hundred people homeless and shutting down offices in downtown Oklahoma City.

Within an hour of the explosion, 29-year-old Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh was arrested, travelling north out of Oklahoma City after being pulled over for driving without a licence plate by an Oklahoma highway patrolman. At the trial, the United States Government asserted that McVeigh's motivation for the attack was to avenge the deaths two years earlier of Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas, whom he believed had been murdered by agents of the federal government. On 13 June 1997, Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death by a jury consisting of seven men and five women, who unanimously voted that McVeigh should die by lethal injection. He was executed by lethal injection at a US penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, on 11 June 2001.

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