- A Texas state trooper who stood guard as the flames were
subsiding April 19, 1993, at Mount Carmel, told lawyers Wednesday that
he saw a cargo van enter the property and leave carrying a body bag, that
a rental truck spirited debris away from the scene and that he heard FBI
agents discussing a gunfight.
- Sgt. David Keys, a 17-year veteran of the Texas Department
of Public Safety, provided details of his observations in a Waco deposition
for attorneys in a wrongful death suit that Davidian survivors have filed
against the federal government.
- Keys told the lawyers that, at about 4 p.m. on April
19, some two hours before Texas Rangers took custody of Mount Carmel from
FBI agents, he was told by Texas DPS personnel he should allow a white
mini-cargo van to enter Mount Carmel "to pick up a body," plaintiff's
attorney James Brannon reported.
- Keys also said that when the van left the site, he looked
inside and saw a body bag with a shape that could have been that of a corpse.
- "The van that Keys saw could only have been kept
secret, at that level, by the military," Brannon declared following
the testimony. "If somebody was killed, they could just say that he
was killed in a training accident. It's a mystery who it was and we're
waiting for somebody in the government to tell us."
- The van, Brannon said, never has been mentioned in hearings
and inquiries into Mount Carmel.
- "Keys also says that he also saw something as big
as a door being loaded into a U-Haul truck. One of the doors from Mount
Carmel has been missing since the day of the fire " the door that
might prove that during the Feb. 28 raid, the ATF fired first," Brannon
- Testimony in the 1994 San Antonio trial of 11 Branch
Davidians established that one of Mount Carmel's twin front doors was missing;
the other was entered into evidence in the trial.
- The missing door, defense lawyers insisted, would show
agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had fired at
unseen targets during the raid.
- According to Brannon, Keys also testified that earlier
on April 19, 1993, while Keys was at the DPS Waco commando center, he overhead
an FBI agent who said that a "firefight" was under way at the
back of the Mount Carmel compound.
- Plaintiffs' attorneys have alleged federal agents fired
upon Mount Carmel's back side in the final moments of the tank-and-tear-gas
assault of April 19.
- Justice Department officials did not immediately respond
when asked to comment on Keys' testimony.
- Keys, who has not testified in the Waco matter before,
told Brannon and government attorneys that he observed the van and the
rental truck between 3 and 5 p.m., more than an hour before Rangers took
custody of the scene.
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