|The Branch Davidian Allocutions|
|Edited by Carol Moore|
Below are excerpts from allocution statements eight Davidians made June 16 and 17, 1994 just before federal Judge Walter J. Smith sentenced them to a total of 240 years on aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter and/or weapons charges. These were charges which the jury believed would earn Davidians little more than time already served. This is honest, heartfelt testimony by victims of an unrepentant government which preys on its citizens.
Livingstone FaganLet me also state for myself personally, never, at any point, have I sought to distance myself from David Koresh, his teachings, or from the actions of the residents of Mount Carmel during February 28th through April 19th. There is no doubt in my mind that the actions that we were forced to take were justified, given the circumstances that we were placed in by the actions of the agents of the Government.
Right from the beginning, the spiritual aspect of this was totally and absolutely rejected. Two thousand years ago when Christ was on the cross, we know that he was innocent. But he didn't have an appeal, did he? The system killed him.
I really don't think that there is much to be gained by pursuing words. Through the 51-day negotiation period, David tried to pursue words in an effort to prevent this, the events that happened, but it made no difference. My purpose here was to make clear to the public that we in no way want to leave any impression in the mind of anyone that we are anything but innocent. Absolutely, without any doubts whatsoever, we know we are innocent.
(Livingstone Fagan, 35, a British social worker, masters in theology and father of two, left Mount Carmel during the siege. He was sentenced to 40 years and refuses to appeal.)
As Livingstone said, we still stand on our innocence. Judge, you made a statement that the government is not on trial here. There's no doubt in my mind that the government should be on trial for its actions.
You know, every time I wake up in the morning, I'm in a jail cell, and it's kind of hard to forget what you're going through and your experience in relation to what occurred at Mount Carmel. It's a scar that's left with me.
In the light of everything that's happened, there's a God. We're hoping in something, we're hoping in the truth. We're hoping in God's word. Not following David Koresh. We're following the truth. I just hope that out of this whole situation, I hope it's pricked the conscience of people to realize and to understand, to waken people up to the realities taking place in this world.
(Jaime Castillo, 26, a musician from California, survived the fire that burned Mount Carmel. He was sentenced to 40 years and is appealing.)
Renos AvraamI'd like to say that for those who died at Mount Carmel, I don't believe they died in vain. I do believe the Government was responsible. I don't care what the Government says, how much they try to whitewash it. Colin Powell gave a report saying CS gas was harmful and flammable, even self-combustible. I don't believe it was right for them to use tanks to go straight into the building where women and children are.
David Koresh told [undercover ATF agent Robert] Rodriguez that "we know you're coming," and still they come with helicopters blazing. Helicopters blazing. David Koresh did come to the door and did try to stop them. But the plan was, go in through windows, flash-bangs and everything, kill some dogs.
Well, it's a sad situation because so many people died for something that was so simple as someone's supposedly converting semiautomatic to full automatic and every gun was legally purchased. You can have automatic weapons, all you need is a license. Of course, the Government wants scapegoats out of all of this and we are the scapegoats.
We're all going to stand before God. And I hope, Judge Smith, that you have a squeaky clean record, because as a judge you're sentencing other people. I hope you can stand before God.
(Renos Avraam, 31, a British businessman and musician, survived the fire that burned Mount Carmel. He was sentenced to 40 years and is appealing.)
Kevin WhitecliffFrom an Adventist school, I've always been taught 2000-year-old questions. If Jesus came up to you and said, "I'll make you fishers of men, will you follow me?" I wondered if I had the faith to do something like that. That's always been in my mind. I believe that the message that I heard, the Seven Seals, was an inspirational message.
I thought I was going to die that day. I thought I was going to get blown away. And I couldn't believe this was our country doing this to its citizens. I thought we got attacked by some kind of renegades or some kind of an anti-Christian group.
Put in that situation where you've got women and children crying and screaming, "Oh, my God, please help us, save us, do something! They're shooting at us!" You do anything, you pick up anything you can, if your life is threatened, to defend yourself. And you do your best to live another day or live another hour or another minute.
We didn't ask anybody to provoke anything. And we'd probably still be there today, minding our own business, if the 28th of February 1993 never came. There were three, four helicopters buzzing around, shooting people. What the ATF did was unjustifiable.
(Kevin Whitecliff, 34, left Mount Carmel during the siege. He was sentenced to 40 years and is appealing.)
Brad BranchYou honor, ladies and gentlemen. I'm basically a shy person, so if I faint... I'm going to stand up here with all humility. And the truth of the matter is, these people that I'm here with, it's a basic truth, a Seven Seal truth. We stand in judgement before God. The question is simple. Who is worthy? I don't know what to tell this Court as far as what ya'll want to hear. And if I made no sense, it's because I can't make any sense of the Court.
(Brad Branch, 36, a technician from Texas, left Mount Carmel during the siege. He was sentenced to 40 years and is appealing.)
Paul FattaWhy did so many of my friends and family have to suffer and die at Mount Carmel? Why did the Government plan a military assault on such a small group of people? The majority of people living at Mount Carmel were women, children and elderly. What our Government did to my friends would never be done to a foreign country. The Branch Davidians were never given a chance. The Branch Davidians were for peace, but the Government was for war. David Koresh invited ATF Agent David Aguilera to inspect all the weapons at Mount Carmel, but he refused. David Koresh went to the front door unarmed. He told the attacking agents, "Let's talk. There are women and children living here." Instead he was met with gunfire, and him and his father-in-law were both wounded.
(Paul Fatta, 36, a businessman born in Hawaii, was not at Mount Carmel on February 28, 1993. He was sentenced to 15 years and is appealing.)
Graeme CraddockWhen I came out of Mount Carmel after the fire, I told the truth to whatever authorities that asked me. Much of the evidence that was presented against me has come from the testimony of my own mouth. I wanted the truth to come out, the real truth, whether it hurt us or not. If there is a God and if there is a judgement to come after this, then all truth about what happened at Mount Carmel is going to be revealed.
(Graeme Craddock, 33, an Australian teacher and engineer, survived the fire that burned Mount Carmel. He was sentenced to 20 years and is appealing.)
Ruth RiddleI'd just like to say that this whole experience has been quite a tragedy, from my point of view and I'm sure from the agents' and their surviving families' point of view. I feel that it's all been based on a misunderstanding. We were a people living together as a family. We loved one another and we cared about one another. And we were living there trying to study the word of God, to learn what was right for our day. And the things that happened last year need not have happened.
(Ruth Riddle, 31, a Canadian citizen, survived the fire that burned Mount Carmel. She was sentenced to 5 years and is not appealing.)
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