Koresh

Branch Davidian leader David Koresh (right) is flanked by Perry Jones (left) and David Jones, at Mount Carmel, known locally at the time as Rodenville, following their 1988 trial for attempted murder.

Staff photo — Steve Earley, file

The Waco Tribune-Herald’s coverage of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege is now available for free on the newspaper’s website, wacotrib.com.

More than 400 stories from the time period are available online for the first time, including complete day-by-day coverage of the 51-day siege that started with a raid and shootout that killed 10 Feb. 28, 1993, and ended with the fire that killed 77 and destroyed the cult’s compound on April 19, 1993.

The Trib’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated series “The Sinful Messiah,” which started the day before the raid, is also available. The seven-part series detailed and exposed cases of child abuse, sexual abuse of children and weapons violations in the Branch Davidian cult led by Vernon Howell, whom the world would come to know as David Koresh.

“What happened in 1993 has sparked more conspiracy theories than perhaps any other news event in modern history,” current Trib Editor Steve Boggs said. “With the 25th anniversary coming up, all those old theories will get fresh ink and air time, so we decided to give readers everywhere a chance to read what actually did happen.”

In addition to the Trib’s award-winning reporting on the raid, siege and fire, the site also features background stories on the Branch Davidian cult and its predecessors dating back to a 1959 end-of-the-world prophecy, as well as coverage of the 1994 trial of 11 Davidians who survived the fire.

“Most of these stories have never been online before,” Boggs said. “We literally had to transcribe them word for word from microfilm files. The staff from that time period did outstanding work under intense conditions. If you are looking for the complete story, this is where you’ll find it.”

Readers can access the page at wacotrib.com/branch.

“Over the years, the Trib has written thousands of stories about the Branch Davidians, both before Koresh and after. Eventually, we’ll have them all on the site,” Boggs said.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part Two appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

Read the accounts of April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

The 1987 Rodenville shootout and trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more coming soon.