OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma's governor and legislators Friday approved the money needed to prosecute Timothy J. McVeigh on state charges of murdering 168 people in the 1995 bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
As a federal jury in Denver deliberated on whether to convict or acquit McVeigh in the worst attack on civilians in U.S. history, state officials pressed on with their plans to try him separately in Oklahoma City, site of the attack.
Gov. Frank Keating agreed to set aside almost $650,000 from the state's "rainy day fund" to pay for the prosecution effort, which would be led by Dist. Atty. Robert Macy.
Keating signed a decree saying "emergency conditions" required money to be taken from the fund, which is made up of surplus tax revenues from previous years, and the Legislature then approved the measure with just minutes to spare before the end of its current legislative session.
"It's another arrow in our quiver just in the event that the federal arrow misses or doesn't kill," Keating said.
Macy welcomed the move and said that if the Denver jury found McVeigh not guilty, he would immediately request McVeigh be kept in custody to face the state murder charges in Oklahoma.
But if McVeigh is convicted in Denver, where the federal trial was moved, Macy said he would hold off filing the state charges until the federal trial of alleged co-conspirator Terry L. Nichols is also completed.