Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

2nd Trial Begins Monday in Oklahoma City Bombing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

2nd Trial Begins Monday in Oklahoma City Bombing

Article excerpt

As they sat in the courtroom, the two men accused of carrying out the deadliest terrorist attack in American history were as different as night and day.

Timothy McVeigh was active, animated, even jocular. Terry Nichols was reserved, sullen, quiet. The two, former Army buddies, never spoke or looked at each other during the pretrial hearings.

In June, a jury convicted McVeigh of bombing the Oklahoma City federal building. On Monday, Nichols gets his turn in court. And though the charges against the two men are the same, the cases against them are - like their personalities - vastly different. The charges are conspiracy, use of a weapon of mass destruction, bombing federal property and murdering eight federal law enforcement officers in the line of duty, all punishable by the death penalty. McVeigh was convicted on all 11 counts and sentenced to death. The blast, said to be retribution for the government's deadly siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, killed 168 and injured more than 500. But Nichols' attorneys say he didn't know about the bombing and cooperated with investigators after he turned himself in. Most importantly, Nichols was in Kansas when the bomb went off, and authorities say a half-dozen witnesses can attest to that. His best defense, says attorney Michael Tigar, is "He wasn't there." But prosecutors contend that he has blood on his hands. Prosecutor Sean Connelly wrote, in supporting the death penalty in this case, "Nichols played a key role throughout an eight-month conspiracy: He acquired ammonium nitrate and bomb components, stole explosives, robbed a firearms dealer, helped McVeigh drop off the getaway car, and constructed the bomb. "Nichols deserves to die for causing the deaths of 168 innocent men, w omen and children." A Five-Part Case Prosecutors have broken down their case against Nichols into five parts: 1. Before September 1994, they allege that McVeigh and Nichols "agreed together to bomb a federal building." To prove that, the prosecutors plan to introduce evidence of Nichols' anti-government beliefs, in which he railed against a Michigan judge about government intrusion, along with other literature found in his home. But Tigar, Nichols' attorney, says Nichols' beliefs - anti-tax, anti-government - are shared by many Americans, and has asked the judge to exclude that evidence. Tigar said men shouldn't be put on trial because of the contents of their libraries. "Nothing, not a word that emerged from Mr. Nichols' mouth or pen, suggests in any way any endorsement of violence, revolution of any kind," Tigar told U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch. "This is tax-protester stuff." 2. Prosecutors say the second part of their case rests on the testimony of Michael and Lori Fortier. During McVeigh's trial, Lori Fortier claimed that Nichols took part in the robbery to finance the bombing, and that Nichols bought fertilizer that authorities believe was used to make the bomb. …

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