Graeme Craddock

Graeme Craddock is one of the Branch Davidians who survived the fire. Below is a transcript of his testimony before he and other Davidians were sentenced.

The transcript was posted February 18, 1995, by Carol Moore, who said, "Below are statements eight Branch 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 statements, taken from the trial transcript in the order in which they were made, have been edited somewhat for clarity and brevity."

Most people that know me know that I very rarely say much, even in the best of circumstances. As I hope you can appreciate, this is not the best of circumstances.

When I came out of Mount Carmel after the fire, I told the truth to whatever authorities that asked me, whether they were Texas Rangers or the Grand Jury. Or perhaps I should say, I told the truth under the best of circumstances that I could, realizing that I had been through a traumatic experience. And having gone through that, when you're in a tough situation, you mind tends to narrow what you can remember. Nevertheless, I told the truth.

You probably are aware that much of the evidence that was presented against me has come from the testimony of my own mouth, that is, the Grand Jury statement. Others who came out of Mount Carmel have never been indicted or convicted of a crime. I think possibly the reason for that is because they have chosen their constitutional right to remain silent and perhaps that's the only difference between what I have done and what they have done. I have chosen to tell the truth, whether it's hurt me, and obviously it has. I've put myself in a situation where you can have your choice as to whether to show me mercy or not. 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.

When the firing broke out I just lie on the floor. We all heard shots being fired. I'd describe it like hailstones on a tin roof. It was very terrifying for all of us.

Because of my own testimony I believe I'm here today under threat of 40 years imprisonment. Because I did speak out, I did cooperate as best I could, I feel I am due some respect from this court. I think it's wrong to be convicted because you cooperated.

From all the people's perception of what David Koresh taught, people perceive him to teach a violent doctrine. I hate guns. I hate firearms. That's just my nature. I'm a quiet person. I never wished harm on anyone. I certainly didn't fire on anyone in those 51 days. I never attempted to harm a hair on anyone's head, in action or in intent.

I have been convicted of possession of a grenade. I'm from another country. I've never been instructed to the letter of the law. Certainly on the 28th of February, 1993 I had no wish or desire for any one of those agents to be injured.

I spent 51 days during that siege, during which I did my best to make life as livable as possible inside for those that were in there. I took on the responsibility of trying to maintain a communication system, a telephone line to the outside which, under those circumstances, was very difficult.

So far as that grenade which I have been convicted of, I never had any desire to possess a grenade. The first time we saw those grenades was on the first day of the raid, after the initial raid had taken place. I saw a box of maybe a half a dozen or a dozen grenades.

My interest in staying the 51 days was for those people, the women, the children, my friends. I believe these were innocent people. These are people I loved very much and I tried to help them.

I never had any intention or desire to possess a grenade. After being through 51 days of this absolute terror, it drained practically every morsel of inner strength from you. I didn't have any sleep. You had no will any more to care about anything. And when someone says, "Do you know how to use one of these?" I answered, instinctively and honestly, "Yes."

I didn't care about it. It could have been a feather duster. I didn't have any intention to cause any harm to anyone with it. When you are in a situation like that, you don't want to get into an argument, a discussion. You just put the thing in a pocket and walk away. I wanted to get rid of the thing, but where are you going to put it? There's tanks coming through the wall. What if one of them rolls over it and sets the thing off? I didn't even know how dangerous the thing was. I didn't even know if it would go off. I can't throw it outside, it would be just as dangerous out there. The safest, the only time to get rid of it, was in the cinder block cell.

That's the testimony I want to put to you today. If you want to condemn me for that, then the message [you're telling] the average person is, "Don't cooperate with authorities. Even if you do, they're going to come down on you like a ton of bricks."

(Graeme Craddock, 33, an Australian teacher and engineer, survived the fire that burned Mount Carmel. He was sentenced to 20 years but appealed.)