Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Experts Discuss State Bombing Trial Issue for Television Show

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Experts Discuss State Bombing Trial Issue for Television Show

Article excerpt

Ask the question should bombing conspirator Terry Nichols be tried in Oklahoma and you'll get one of two emotional responses. Some people are vehemently in favor of a state murder trial for Nichols, while others just as strongly oppose it.

A panel of legal experts gathered Tuesday to discuss the issue in a tape of a pilot episode of the television show, The Verdict.

Nichols and bomber Timothy McVeigh have been convicted in a federal court for their roles in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. McVeigh was sentenced to death and is in a federal penitentiary in Indiana. Nichols, convicted of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter, was sentenced to life in prison.

Several Oklahomans say that's not enough. One of them is Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy, who has filed the state murder charges against Nichols.

John Coyle, a prominent Oklahoma defense attorney, and state Rep. John Nance, R-Bethany, discussed the state murder trial in Tuesday's taping.

Coyle said because both McVeigh and Nichols are locked away from society and can do no harm, Oklahoma doesn't need to waste the time, money and effort in a state trial of Nichols.

"The people who were allegedly responsible for this crime have been removed from life. Everyone is protected from them," he said. "It (a state trial) doesn't benefit anyone involved in the tragedy."

Nance thinks justice hasn't been served for the victims and survivors of the Murrah bombing.

Nance said 160 people haven't had justice. "I think that's a fair reason for Oklahoma to have a trial," he said.

The federal trials dealt only with the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers.

The absence of charges involving the other 160 victims is why supporters of an Oklahoma trial say it's necessary.

But Coyle believes something other than justice for the victims is the motive for a state trial. …

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