Ranger Testifies at Waco Trial

Associated Press Writer, July 7, 2000
By Sherri Chunn

WACO, Texas (AP) - Four gas cans were recovered from what had been the dining room of the Branch Davidian complex after fires consumed it in 1993, a Texas Ranger testified Friday.

Ranger Bobby Grubbs, who helped gather evidence after the deadly fire, testified that Clive Doyle, one of nine people who escaped, told Rangers the blaze was started with Coleman fuel. When asked if he knew who started it, Doyle refused to answer the question, Grubbs testified.

``I felt he had information; he just wouldn't give it to us,'' Grubbs said.

About 80 Branch Davidians and leader David Koresh died - some from fire, others from gunshots - when their compound went up in flames on April 19, 1993, at the end of their 51-day standoff with federal agents.

Fire investigators have said one of the three blazes that day started in the dining room area, and the government was using Grubbs' testimony to support its contention that the Branch Davidians were suicidal and started the fires themselves.

But Davidian survivors and relatives of those who were killed in the standoff claim in their $675 million wrongful death lawsuit that federal agents caused at least some of fires.

They say the gas cans were used to fill fuel-burning lanterns needed to light the complex during the standoff. Grubbs also said lantern parts belonging to the cult were found near the cans.

Grubbs said Rangers interviewed Doyle a day after the fire, as he lay in a burn ward of a Dallas hospital. Doyle's mother, Edna Doyle, who sat in the courtroom with her son, quietly repeated the words ``You're a liar'' as Grubbs testified about the interview.

The younger Doyle, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, testified last week he could feel skin ``rolling off his hands'' as he jumped out of the burning building through a hole made by government tanks.

A government attorney presented Doyle with the melted remains of a blue nylon jacket he wore on the final day of the standoff and asked why the sleeves of the jacket were covered with ignitable liquids.

``It could have come from constantly filling lanterns,'' Doyle testified at the time. ``I don't know.''

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