- Jul 11, 2011
- Reaction score
- Chicago, Chicago, that Toddling Town
More likely they got rid of inrminating evidence.
"Hey, Bob, here's this mangled door with dozens of bullet holes in it, even though we can't tell if the bullet holes got there on February 28th during the initial shootout or on April 19th during the shootout right before these freaks burned themselves to death!"
"Well, let's leave the left hand door but steal the right hand door, right under the noses of all these Texas Rangers who are actually collecting evidence for the state trial for the survivors. It has no evidentiary value, but I'm sure conspiracy freaks will be talking about it for the next 30 years!"
Meanwhile, on Planet Sane.
After a jury trial lasting nearly two months, the jury acquitted four of the Branch Davidians on all charges. Additionally, the jury acquitted all of the Branch Davidians on the murder-related charges but convicted five of them on lesser charges, including aiding and abetting the voluntary manslaughter of federal agents. Eight Branch Davidians were convicted on firearms charges.
The convicted Branch Davidians, who received sentences of up to 40 years, were:
- Kevin A. Whitecliff – convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
- Jaime Castillo – convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
- Paul Gordon Fatta – convicted of conspiracy to possess machine guns and aiding Branch Davidian leader David Koresh in possessing machine guns.
- Renos Lenny Avraam (British national) – convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
- Graeme Leonard Craddock (Australian national) – convicted of possessing a grenade and using or possessing a firearm during a crime.
- Brad Eugene Branch – convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
- Livingstone Fagan (British national) – convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
- Ruth Riddle (Canadian national) – convicted of using or carrying a weapon during a crime.
- Kathryn Schroeder – sentenced to three years after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of forcibly resisting arrest.
Several of the surviving Branch Davidians, as well as more than a hundred family members of those who had died or were injured in the confrontation, brought civil suits against the United States government, numerous federal officials, the former governor of Texas Ann Richards, and members of the Texas Army National Guard. They sought monetary damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act, civil rights statutes, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and Texas state law. The bulk of these claims were dismissed because they were insufficient as a matter of law or because the plaintiffs could advance no material evidence in support of them.
The court, after a month-long trial, rejected the Branch Davidians' case. The court found that, on February 28, 1993, the Branch Davidians initiated a gun battle when they fired at federal officers who were attempting to serve lawful warrants. ATF agents returned gunfire to the building, the court ruled, to protect themselves and other agents from death or serious bodily harm. The court found that the government's planning of the siege—i.e., the decisions to use tear gas against the Branch Davidians; to insert the tear gas using military vehicles and to omit specific planning for the possibility that a fire would erupt—was a discretionary function for which the government could not be sued. The court also found that the use of tear gas was not negligent. Further, even if the United States government were negligent by causing damage to the buildings before the fires broke out, thus either blocking escape routes or enabling the fires to spread faster, that negligence did not legally cause the plaintiffs' injuries because the Branch Davidians started the fires.
In September 1999, Attorney General Reno appointed former U.S. Senator John C. Danforth as Special Counsel to investigate the matter. In particular, the Special Counsel was directed to investigate charges that government agents started or spread the fire at the Mount Carmel complex, directed gunfire at the Branch Davidians, and unlawfully employed the armed forces of the United States. A yearlong investigation ensued, during which the Office of the Special Counsel interviewed 1,001 witnesses, reviewed over 2.3 million pages of documents, and examined thousands of pounds of physical evidence. In the "Final report to the Deputy Attorney General concerning the 1993 confrontation at the Mt. Carmel Complex, Waco Texas" of November 8, 2000, Special Counsel Danforth concluded that the allegations were meritless.
Now, did the ATF and FBI make a lot of mistakes? You betcha. But at the end of the day, it was David Koresh who decided to have a shoot out with the FBI, and David Koresh who decided that mass suicide was better than what they do to Chomos in the big house.