Ruth Riddle

Ruth Riddle is a Branch Davidian who survived the fire. Below is a transcript of her testimony before she 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."

I'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 at 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, just as I'm sure the ATF family cares about each one in their family. 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.

I was very saddened and moved by the things the families of the ATF who were killed said in the [sentencing] report. And I was also moved by the injured ATF agents who came and testified during the trial. But there was injury and sadness on both sides. We also saw Marjorie Thomas, who was very badly burned in the fire.

I'd just like to say that all these things need not have happened, and its been a terrible tragedy and it was not my intent, personally, that anyone be harmed in anyway. The last 14 months have been hard on me, as I'm sure they've been on my brothers. And I'd like to thank the support of all our friends and family. And I'd like to thank the lawyers who have spoken for us, and also the jury, who took a lot of time to consider things for us.

I'd just like to say that I feel its all been based on a misunderstanding. And I would ask that you take all things into consideration and grant as much leniency as possible within the law, because I know that's your duty. And I hope you do the right thing. And may God save this Court and may God save the United States of America.

(Ruth Riddle, 31, a Canadian citizen, survived the fire that burned Mount Carmel. She was sentenced to 5 years and did not appeal.)