ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage group opposed to the death penalty held a vigil Monday for victims of the Oklahoma City bombing -- including bomber Timothy McVeigh.
About 50 people gathered at 1 p.m. in front of the Federal Court House to participate in the vigil organized by Alaskans Against the Death Penalty.
Group members lit 169 white candles to represent lives lost to violence. The number includes the 168 victims of the blast on April 19, 1995, plus McVeigh, who was executed by lethal injection Monday.
McVeigh's killing was the first federal execution in 38 years.
White is the Chinese color for mourning.
Rich Curtner, the federal public defender for Alaska, was among those participating in the vigil. He said many countries have done away with the death penalty in favor of life in prison without parole and the United States should do the same.
''I know in the federal system he would have been kept for life in maximum security prison where he would not have had any opportunity to commit other crimes,'' he said.
The death penalty perpetuates the cycle of violence, Curtner said.
''We were here as a statement and stand against violence and against the resumption of federal executions,'' he said.
Kathy Harris, a 43-year-old accountant, said McVeigh should have spent a long time in prison. That way perhaps he would have realized the wrongness of his actions and the victims' families might have been able to forgive him, she said.
''Perhaps he would have gotten to the point where he admitted regret and remorse for what he did,'' Harris said.
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