Excerpts from Randy Weaver’s opening statement: I would like to introduce you to my family. This is my daughter, Sara. Two of my daughters are back home. Two of my family members are dead - my son, Samuel, and my beloved wife, Vicki.
On Aug. 21, 1992, federal marshals shot my son Samuel in the back and killed him. He was running home to me. His last words were, “I’m coming, Dad.” They shot his little arm almost off and they killed him by shooting him in the back with a 9 mm submachine gun. The gun had a silencer on it. He was not wanted for any crime. He did not commit any crime. The marshals killed his dog right at his feet. He only tried to defend himself and his dog.
Sammy was just 14 years old. He did not yet weigh 80 pounds. He was not yet 5 feet tall. The marshals who killed Sammy were grown men. They were in combat gear. They had their faces painted with camouflage, they were wearing full camouflage suit with black ninja-type hoods. They were carrying machine guns and large caliber semiautomatic pistols. They were trained to kill.
On Aug. 22, 1992, completely without warning of any kind, an FBI sniper shot and killed my wife, Vicki…He had years of training to kill. I heard him testify at the trial that he wanted to kill. He shot my wife in the head and killed her. She was not wanted for any crime. There were no warrants for her arrest. At the time she was gunned down, she was helpless. She was standing in the doorway of her home. She was holding the door open for me and Sara - and for Kevin Harris. She was holding Elisheba, our 10-month-old baby girl, in her arms. As the bullet crashed through her head, she slumped to her knees, holding Elisheba tightly so she would not drop her. We took the baby from her as she lay dead and bleeding on the kitchen floor.
I am not at fault in this matter. I was convicted of failure to appear for trial on charges I had sold a sawed-off shotgun to an ATF informant…I was found not guilty of the original weapons charge, and I was found not guilty of every other crime I was charged with, including murder and assault on federal officers. I was charged with conspiring against the government and I was found not guilty of that charge…I have been accountable for my actions. I now face you senators to ask that those responsible for the killings of my wife and my son be brought to account for their actions.
If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would make different choices. I would come down from the mountain for the court appearance…I would not allow myself to be tempted in a weak moment when my family needed money. I would not let my fears, and the fears of my family, keep me from coming down.
Some say that all of this could have been avoided if I had simply come down from the mountain and gone to trial. When I chose not to come down, I knew that I would be set up at court, just as I had been set up by the ATF.
Because of our confusion and fear and mistrust my family made a decision that I would not come down. That decision brought the marshals to my home on the mountain on Aug. 21, 1992. But that decision did not cause the marshals to kill my son and the FBI to kill my wife. That decision did not cause federal agents to lie and cover up what they had done, leading to further tragedy. That decision did not cause the FBI to send snipers to the mountain with orders to kill my family, to shoot them on sight, without investigating what had happened the previous day. When the sniper killed my wife, he had not witnessed anyone in my family commit a crime. No sniper or FBI agent on the mountain had witnessed any of my family commit a crime. No FBI agent had even talked with the marshals that had been involved in the shooting the previous day. The FBI sniper was executing suspects and witnesses. The FBI sniper was judge, jury and executioner.
I ask you to uncover the truth about the federal agents who have committed wrongs. I ask you to bring them to account before you. I ask you to see to it that those persons who killed my wife and my little 14-year-old son are brought to justice. I ask it for me. I ask it for my family. I ask it for my country.