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Nichols was convicted of eight counts of manslaughter in a United States District Court and is now spending life behind bars in ADX Florence, a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. The state of Oklahoma then charged him with capital murder. The McAlester, Oklahoma trial started March 1, 2004, with jury selection and the testimony phase began on March 22 where he was convicted on August 9th, to serve of 161 counts of first-degree murder and that the sentences run consecutively with the Federal Trial. In the end he was convicted but the jury spared him the death penalty.
Nichols was convicted in federal court on December 23, 1997. After first voting 10-2 for acquittal, the jury deliberated 42 hours before returning a guilty verdict on a charge of conspiring to bomb a federal building (the federal crime of using a weapon of mass destruction) and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers. Nichols' defense relied heavily on evidence that others had conspired to bomb the building, but Nichols has never publicly implicated any other suspects based on his own knowledge of the bombing. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole on June 4, 1998.
A third alleged accomplice and affiliate of McVeigh and Nichols, Michael Fortier, testified against the two during federal trials. Fortier entered a federal plea agreement on charges he failed to notify authorities of the crime. Fortier said he helped the pair survey the building in anticipation of the attack. He helped prosecutors piece together a theory of the crime in which Nichols' and McVeigh purchased fertilizer to use in an improvised explosive device. A receipt for fertilizer was found in a drawer during a search of Nichols' Kansas residence.
Most accounts say that Nichols stayed home during the Oklahoma City Bombing. His neighbors reported he was spreading fertilizer on the lawn of his Herington, Kansas home the morning of the explosion. After McVeigh was arrested, Nichols drove to a local police station, where he was interviewed and eventually held in connection with the bombing. Nichols and McVeigh had been assigned together to the 1st Infantry Division, then headquartered at nearby Fort Riley, Kansas. Herington is located a few miles south of Geary State Lake , where prosecutors allege McVeigh assembled the bomb.
Prosecutors focused on a trip back from Oklahoma City a few days before the attack in which Nichols drove from Kansas to Oklahoma to retrieve McVeigh. Prosecutors said that was when McVeigh parked a yellow Mercury Marquis in an alley near the Murrah Building. McVeigh was driving the yellow Mercury when he was arrested an hour after the bombing. Nichols claimed he picked up his friend McVeigh from Oklahoma City on the promise of getting a television set.
McVeigh had been a guest of Nichols home in the months before the bombing, and had visited Nichols and his brother James Nichols at his farm in Michigan. Investigators combed the Lapeer, Michigan farm, and held James Nichols and his teenage son, but later released them without filing charges.
In 1995, Nichols resided in Herington with a wife and infant child. He is now divorced and his former wife has returned to the Philippines. Nichols made several trips to the Philippines in the months before the bombing.
Oklahoma state charges
Nichols was returned to Oklahoma in January 2000 to face 160 counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree manslaughter for the death of an unborn child, one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of aiding and counseling in the placing of a substance or bomb near a public building. On May 26, 2004 he was found guilty on all charges. It took the 6 man, 6 woman jury 5 hours to produce a verdict. The penalty phase of the trial started on June 1, 2004. After 19½ hours of deliberation over a period of three days, the jury indicated on June 11, the third anniversary of the execution of his co-defendant, Timothy McVeigh, that it was deadlocked over whether Nichols should receive the death penalty. By law, Judge Steven Taylor was then required to sentence Nichols to life imprisonment (a term he is already serving), although the judge can decide whether or not he should get parole (this is a technicality since he is already serving life without parole). On August 9, 2004 he was sentenced 161 counts of first-degree murder and that the sentences run consecutively.
Charges in Oklahoma arose from a grand jury empaneled to investigate the bombing. After a federal jury refused to return a conviction on charges for which Nichols could be sentenced to die, District Attorney Bob Macy said he would pursue state charges. But Macy declined to file state charges in the matter until the grand jury indicted Nichols. The grand jury returned an indictment in March 1999.
Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane has denied the prosecution was conducted solely for the purpose of having Nichols executed, saying it was important Nichols be convicted of killing all 168 victims, even though he did not apparently make the same call for another trial for McVeigh.
"This case has always been about 161 men, women and children and an unborn baby having the same rights to their day in court as eight federal law enforcement officers," Lane said.
Citizens of Oklahoma petitioned to empanel the grand jury that investigated the bombing. State representative Charles Key led a citizens group that circulated the petitions in hopes of uncovering evidence implicating other conspirators. The grand jury, directed by Macy, heard testimony about allegations of other accomplices but returned only the indictments against Nichols.
One author was arrested and charged with jury tampering after he mailed copies of his book to members of the grand jury. The book, The Politics of Terror , outlined evidence supporting several theories of the crime, but offered a conclusion the federal government orchestrated the bombing.
Roger Moore robbery
In the days before Nichols' state trial was set to begin, an Associated Press article cited FBI agents expressing outrage that they had not been shown evidence that Moore's license, or a fake license resembling his, was seized from the MidWest Bank Robbers. The gang of Aryan Republican Army affiliated robbers were reported to have visited Elohim City during the same days that McVeigh was alleged to have visited the private village in northern Arkansas.
Terry Nichols has told investigators he did not rob Roger Moore, in fact he contends Moore gave him the weapons, cash and precious stones. If this is true was Roger Moore trying to help finance the OKC bombing? The circumstances surrounding the "robbery" are controversial for various reasons. If it occurred, that is if Terry Nichols forcibly robbed Roger Moore at gunpoint with a pump shotgun and a garrote wire as a gun strap, or did he willingly provide the items in question. Was the government trying to build a case against McVeigh and Nichols and was Roger Moore a good witness. Did Moore decide he was robbed after it was discovered he could have be considered a suspect instead of a victim. Moore was given a polygraph test by the FBI, so does that mean he is credible or is he really involved in the crime. Before the bombing Roger Moore was arrested in Oklahoma by Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troopers, for shooting a tracer round into another vehicle during a road rage incident. Roger Moore was travelling to a gun show when the incident occurred, he also first met McVeigh at a gun show in Florida. During his intial arrest he fought with the Oklahoma Troopers and resisted arrest, he later detested Oklahoma law enforcement because of the arrest. Did he have a reason to help the two main suspects in the case, we may never know the truth in this critical aspect of the case.
Nichols was twice married, first to Lana Padilla then to Marife Torres . Nichols was introduced to the latter woman, who hails from Cebu City in the Philippines, by Paradise Shelton Tours, of Scottsdale, Arizona. She was 17 at the time of their 1991 marriage.
Marife Torres was the mother of an infant son when she married Nichols. The child suffocated in a plastic bag while the couple was residing at the Nichols family farm in Michigan. The November 22, 1993 death shortly followed the birth of a son fathered by Nichols. Nichols and his wife frequently visited the Philippines, where she was working on a degree in physical therapy. He sometimes travelled to the Philippines alone, while she remained in Kansas.
Cebu City at the time was a reputed base for several militant organizations, including Liberation Army of the Philippines , the Communist Huk, and the Al-Qaida affiliate Abu Sayyaf. Stephen Jones, the trial attorney who first represented Tim McVeigh, cited evidence of a meeting in Davao City, in Mindanao in 1992 or 1993, when Yousef members, Abdul Hakim Murad, Wali Khan Amin Shah and a "farmer" met to discuss the Oklahoma bombing. Jones said the FBI was aware of the meeting.
Nichols had left a cryptic note for his first wife during one of his many visits to the Philippines. Upon returning from one visit to learn that she had prematurely opened a letter instructing her what to do in the event of his death, he made a series of telephone calls to a Cebu City boarding house. Witnesses, including Marife's brother said the boarding house is often used by residents from Mindanao. The western parts of Mindanao were, at the time, the site of an Abu Sayyaf stronghold. Other witnesses said Nichols may have been trying to reach his wife during the numerous repeated 30-second telephone calls.
- Crime Library page on Nichols
- ABC News article on Nichols
- Rotten.com article on Terry Nichols — talks about Nichols' alleged connections with Al-Qaida
- CourtTV: The Oklahoma City Bombing Trial Transcripts — Terry Nichols
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