Prosecutors to pursue state murder charges against Nichols

Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Associated Press WriterOKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The new district attorney in Oklahoma City said Wednesday that he will prosecute bombing conspirator Terry Nichols on state murder charges that could bring the death penalty.

District Attorney Wes Lane had hinted in recent months that he might not pursue the first-degree murder and other state charges filed by his predecessor against Nichols, 46.

He said he wanted to ensure that Nichols is held accountable for the bombing, no matter what happens to Nichols' appeal of his federal conviction.

Some bombing survivors and members of victims' families have expressed concern that Nichols might win his appeal and escape punishment for his role in the bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds of others.

Nichols worked with his former Army buddy, Timothy McVeigh, to steal and purchase bomb ingredients and pack the bomb inside a Ryder truck the day before the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

He was convicted at a federal trial in Denver of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of eight federal agents. McVeigh was executed June 11 in Terre Haute, Ind.

Doubts were raised about Nichols' conviction in May after the FBI admitted it had not turned over thousands of pages of documents to defense attorneys before the bombing trials.

Lane, who took over when former District Attorney Bob Macy retired in June, had been considering dismissing the murder charges that Macy filed against Nichols in 1999. He said federal law barred him from dropping the state charges, then refiling them should the federal conviction be overturned.

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