Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Timothy McVeigh & Terry Nichols: Oklahoma Bombing

Nichols Prosecution Wrap-Up

Approximately three weeks into the trial the defense called for a dismissal of the state's cases due to failure to turn over evidence and new information relevant to the case, reported Tim Talley in an April 12, 2004 AP Worldstream article. However, the prosecuting team claimed that they had handed over all the available documents. After a week and a half, the judge decided that there was no substantial evidence that the prosecution withheld evidence and denied the defenses motion.

The day before the judge denied the motion, the prosecution presented its star witness to the court. Michael Fortier, 35, a longtime friend of both Nichols and McVeigh who previously received a 12-year sentence for withholding information about the bombing, testified for approximately five hours concerning Nichols' and McVeigh's plotting of the attack. Newsday reported in an April 21, 2004 article that Fortier suggested that Nichols was "deeply involved" with McVeigh during the planning of the attack and that the two men purchased the ammonium nitrate to use in the making of the bomb. Moreover, according to the article, Fortier claimed that "McVeigh and Nichols also burglarized a Kansas rock quarry near Nichols' home and stole (a) detonation cord, blasting caps and other explosives," which were allegedly used in the construction of the bomb.

Fortier was also asked to participate in the deadly scheme, yet he refused to be a part of it. He didn't alert the police of the plot because he didn't believe Nichols and McVeigh would actually follow through with their plans, Newsday reported. It was a mistake that cost 168 lives.

Michael Fortier
Michael Fortier

After 29 days, the testimony of 151 witnesses and approximately a thousand pieces of evidence, the prosecution finally rested their case on April 30, 2004. A UPI article released on the same day reported that the last witnesses to testify were doctors who, "described the fatal injuries suffered by 30 of the 168 people killed" in the attack. One particularly interesting piece of evidence, which emerged during testimony, was that of an unidentified leg found at the sight of the bombing.

It was suggested by McVeigh's defense team that the leg, which was wore a "military style boot," and thought to have come from a biracial woman, possibly came from the "real" bomber, Talley stated in a April 26, 2004 AP Online article. It was believed that Nichols' defense team would also use the gruesome evidence to support their argument that other conspirators were involved in the attack. The defenses arguments were expected to last several weeks and involve the testimony of at least 100 witnesses.


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