United States v. McVeigh

153 F.3d 1166 (1998)

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United States v. McVeigh

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
153 F.3d 1166 (1998)

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Facts

Timothy McVeigh (defendant) was accused of bombing a federal building in Oklahoma City and causing 168 deaths and numerous injuries. McVeigh was charged with conspiring to use and using a weapon of mass destruction, maliciously bombing federal property, and murder. At trial, the prosecution presented evidence that McVeigh had knowingly used a massive bomb to target the federal building. McVeigh wanted to present evidence of a possible alternate suspect. Specifically, McVeigh wanted to present evidence suggesting that a member of Elohim City, an anti-government group, could have been the bomber and that the government stopped investigating Elohim City’s members after McVeigh was arrested. The trial court excluded this proposed alternate-suspect evidence, finding that McVeigh had not connected any of it to the bombing and, therefore, it was not sufficiently relevant to be admissible. McVeigh also asked the trial court to instruct the jury that the weapon-of-mass-destruction crime required proof that he had a mens rea of intent and had specifically intended to kill his victims. The trial court refused to give that instruction, instructing the jury it was enough if McVeigh had acted knowingly. The jury convicted McVeigh on all counts, and he was sentenced to death. McVeigh appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ebel, J.)

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