Terry Nichols awaits second bombing trial in Oklahoma


OKLAHOMA CITY, AP

After the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, many victims turned their scorn toward co conspirator Terry Nichols, who is facing state murder charges that could also bring the death penalty.

But Tuesday’s appointment of a new Oklahoma County chief prosecutor raises questions about whether Nichols will ever face a state jury.

Wes Lane starts his new job as district attorney on June 30, when Bob Macy retires. Lane, a longtime assistant to Macy, declined to discuss his plans for the Nichols’ case on Tuesday, but acknowledged there are a “ton of victims that are of differing opinions” on whether to proceed with it.

While that is far from a sign of faltering support for the case, it is a departure from the stubborn stance taken by Macy, who personally filed 160 state murder charges against Nichols and thinks he should die for the crimes.

Many in Oklahoma have no question about what they’d like to see next.

Mickey Sawyer, who lost her mother, watched McVeigh’s execution Monday on closed-circuit television and wants Nichols to suffer a similar fate.

“Let him be next,” Sawyer said.

Nichols, 46, was sentenced to life in prison on federal bombing charges and would face the death penalty if found guilty of the state charges.

Jim Denny, whose two children were injured, supported McVeigh’s execution but feels it would be unfair to try Nichols again and that it would be an imposition on bombing victims and their families.

District Judge Ray Dean Linder postponed Nichols’ latest preliminary hearing date, May 21, after the FBI disclosed it had failed to turn over more than 4,000 bombing-related documents and other materials to prosecutors at the federal trials of Nichols and McVeigh.

Nichols’ defense attorneys have appealed the federal conviction on the grounds he was deprived of a fair trial because of the missing documents.

The documents were delivered to state prosecutors Monday. Linder scheduled a July 11 hearing when a new preliminary hearing date may be announced.