Memorial for Branch Davidians
April 19, 1998 – Waco TX
I had the honor of being the foreperson of the trial…(inaudible)….That was needless to say an extremely powerful moment, days, weeks, for me. I still don’t have the trial itself out of my system. There has been so much that has transpired since that trial. Evidence that has been made public that was not available at the trial. I have had my views altered as a result of that information that has not been made public. But going back strictly to the forty days at the trial I would like to give you some of the thoughts of the jury at that time. As we were deliberating, one of the ….one of the…. bits of information that was vitally important to us…. was whether or not the helicopters that were notoriously circling overhead, did any firing. In the course of the trial we had testimony from pilots, we had testimony from some of those that were onboard the helicopters. We had even military personnel who said that, (all of the same?), absolutely not…there were no guns on those helicopters.
We did have testimony at the trial, specifically from Jack Zimmerman, who was an attorney from Houston that came in during the 51 day ,uh, siege, as a representative of Mr. Schneider. He testified that when he came into the Mount Carmel Center that it was very obvious that there were bullet holes that came through the roof. And he spent a great detail explaining how you could recognize an incoming shell. Sadly we had his testimony, versus the testimony of many others. Utilizing more or less what was the preponderance of the evidence, it was our opinion at the time, that apparently the helicopters had not done any firing. Most of you are aware now that there is much evidence that supports the truth, that the helicopters did fire. This is important, vitally important, to help establish whether or not the Branch Davidians that were (inaudible) at the time of the raid, at Mount Carmel, whether or not they were in a defensive mode or as the government would lead us to believe that they were on the offensive.
(Regarding recording of ATF agent admitting agents had guns in helicopters and might have been firing) . . .When I first heard that section of the negotiation tapes which was here last year in Mr. McNulty’s video, uh, documentary, “Waco: The Rules of Engagement.” When I first heard that my stomach really churned. As I mentioned that had been one of the real sticky points during our deliberations.
(After finding the Davidians guilty) . . .And many of us sat back, those of us who felt rather upset about the fact that we had really felt it necessary to come down with any guilty verdict at all. We sat back and said well, the Branch Davidians had now been held accountable for the deaths of the four ATF agents, we can rest assured that the ATF will have to someday to be made accountable for the deaths of the six Branch Davidians who died on that exact same day, we took some consolation in that. We’re still waiting. There in is some of the major frustration, is the fact that their has been no accountable, on the part of the government. It matters not to me whether there is a trial and every single person is exonerated. I just simply feel that there needs to be a trial, they need to be made to answer for the reasons why they had to conduct the raid, and it needs to be in a public forum, not personnel matters that are handled behind the scenes. And I believe that for the peace of mind of many Americans, that that might help bring a little bit of closure to the incidents that took place on February 28 and April 19 of 93. Of course in addition to having a trial for the ATF officers and their responsibility for the deaths of six Branch Davidians, there has to be some accountable made by the FBI for their activities on April the 19th, actually for their activities during the entire 51 days.
But specifically for their activities on the 19th… I’m hoping that someone has more leadership ability than I do, has better ideas of the workings of the government and better ideas of the workings of our court systems and can pull something together to see that eventually the accountability is brought to bear. In mentioning that with a gentlemen I met just this morning, he said he just did not see how that would happen. The Indians are still waiting. I think that was not…..(applause)….I think that was not very encouraging. I feel that, this is my fifth year to come out to Mt. Carmel. I’m hoping that it will not be another five years that I still am feeling this burden and this frustration. I’m hoping that there will soon, not later, be this accountability that we’re all waiting for. Thank you very much.
Transcribed By Samuel Adams. Excerpt Posted To The Libernet Mailing List By Carol Moore.
Copyright 1998 by Sarah Bain. All rights reserved.