1995: Richard Snell – did he go out with a bang?

At 9 p.m. this evening on this date, white supremacist Richard Snell was executed for murder in Arkansas.

He went out full of venom and smugness, his last words menacing the state’s governor:

Governor Tucker, look over your shoulder; justice is coming. I wouldn’t trade places with you or any of your cronies. Hell has victories. I am at peace.

(Source — but possibly erroneous; note the comments to this post)

It had been as satisfying* for Snell as last days on earth come: the very morning of his execution, militia fellow-traveler Timothy McVeigh blew up Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building.

It is not for this venue to attempt any definitive judgment on the connections and cul-de-sacs of the much-scribbled-about white supremacist labyrinth. It is enough for our purposes to note several items which may be coincidence and have sometimes been reckoned rather more.

  • April 19 had already become the militia movement’s holy day: April 19, 1775, had sparked the American Revolution; more to the point, it had been the date in 1993 of the slaughterous Waco siege. Snell’s execution was slated for that date intentionally, much to the outrage of his sympathizers: so was McVeigh’s plot.
  • Twelve years before his death, Snell himself had schemed to blow up the very same building.
  • Snell has been reported to have predicted that there would be a bombing on his execution date.

After his execution, Snell was returned to Oklahoma Christian Identity mecca (and possible McVeigh haunt) Elohim City, where he lay three days in an open casket before being interred in the community’s cemetery under a headstone marked “Rev Richard Wayne Snell. Patriot.”

* Snell was “smiling and chuckling and nodding” on his last day as he watched coverage of the bombing.