Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were involved in Oklahoma City bombing, in which the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was reduced to a heap of smoldering debris on 19th April, 1995. Numerous buildings at the proximity of the Federal Building were also damaged by the explosion. The explosion burned or destroyed eighty-six vehicles, and ruined glass in about two hundred and fifty-eight buildings at the proximity of the Federal building. Oklahoma City bombing is classified as among the most horrendous offences in the United States History. The bombing claimed one hundred and sixty-eight lives and injured about eight hundred people. This incident was later described by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the worst kind of domestic terrorism in the United States’ history. Panoptic rescue attempts were undertaken by worldwide, federal, state, and local agencies after the bombing incident. The federal, state, and local agencies were actively involved in tracing the Oklahoma City bombing culprits.
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Immediately the Oklahoma City bombing incident occurred, the FBI did a poor investigation. Many jurors strongly believed that the FBI agents failed to successfully investigate a number leads that incriminated the worst kind of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States. According to the jurors, Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh were not the only culprits who contributed to the attack of the federal building. Those who survived the tragedy and the family members of the deceased were angry following the poor investigation. However, Janet Reno, the United States Attorney General assured the public that the FBI agents had done investigation sufficiently, identifying the responsible people as Nichols and McVeigh. In the course of investigating the bombing incident, Boulder Weekly discovered that the FBI failed to follow up the investigation. The investigation by the Boulder Weekly revealed the information that the eye witnesses, Kansas District lawyers and Kansas County sheriffs provided to the agents of FBI, which the bureau disregarded for no satisfying reason. During the trial of Terry Nichols, some of the information that was revealed by the Boulder weekly showed up. Boulder Weekly discovered some proof that the FBI agents may have kept back certain information regarding other possible conspirators in the discovery process, while corrupting the verdicts of Nichols and McVeigh cases.
FBI was also accused of not investigating the information that was provided by Charles Farley. The day before the bombing incident, Farley saw men transporting heavy bags of ammonium nitrate in a Ryder truck. He claimed that the image of one of the men, who looked at him nastily, continued to stay in his mind because the man had a number of unique characteristics about him. A couple of days later, after the bombing incident, he saw the same person being interviewed on TV regarding militia issues (Brownell, 2007). It was said that the explosive device was made up of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Farley made up his own mind to inform the FBI regarding everything he saw so that to help them carry out investigation in an effective. The FBI failed to place the man in a line-up to help Farley identify him. However, the Boulder Weekly made an effort to identify the man on the basis of the descriptions that were given by Farley. According to Brownell (2007), the Boulder Weekly had learned that the man had been arrested previously on possessing a concealed wapon before the occurrence of Oklahoma City bombing incident.
It was said that the FBI agents disregarded evidential information from the lawyers because the government decided not to muddle the cases against Nichols and McVeigh by laying out evidence about the involvement of other individuals, which could potentially baffle a jury (Wright, 2007). The evidence that was supposed to include other perpetrators was eschewed in the Nichols and McVeigh trial since the government officials deliberately decided to narrow their focus to the two suspects so that to relieve the anger of the Americans with respect to the Oklahoma City bombing incident (Wright, 2007). However, according to Wright (2007), it is risky to mess with or ignore the evidence in an offence as the FBI agents did in the case with Oklahoma City bombing.
On 19th April, 1995, Timothy McVeigh was captured after the period of about one and half hours since the bombing of the Federal building (Brownell, 2007). He was stopped by the Oklahoma State Trooper for driving a car without a license plate and was arrested for owning a concealed weapon. McVeigh claimed a false home address by saying that he resided in Michigan at his friend’s house. The Oklahoma States Trooper searched McVeigh’s vehicle and came across a business card which evidenced that he was involved in making explosive devices. Federal agents closely investigated the axle and the license plate of the rental truck that McVeigh used in the bombing (Kick, 2001). The Vehicle Identification Number on the axle enabled the federal agents to link the Ryder truck to the agency from which McVeigh acquired the truck (Brownell, 2007). They used the sketch that was created by the owner of the rental agency to associate McVeigh with the bombing.
Lea McGown remembered the time when McVeigh was parking the Ryder truck in the parking area of the Dreamland Motel (Kick, 2001). McVeigh attempted to disguise his identity by using fake names for all the transactions he performed (Brownell, 2007). According to Kick (2001), Federal agents were allowed an opportunity to look for more evidence in the house of the suspect’s father. They wired the telephone and house with listening gadgets. The FBI investigators made use of the resulting information, along with the false address that had been used by McVeigh, to start their search for Terry Nichols as the other suspect. Terry turned himself in when he learned that the FBI investigators were searching for him. The investigators found incriminating evidential materials at Terry’s home: blasting caps and ammonium nitrate, resourceful books about bomb-making, and a map of the city center of Oklahoma City. On the map of Oklahoma City’s downtown, the Alfred P. Murrah Building was marked. Nichols was interrogated for about nine hours after which he was formally detained in federal custody till his trial.
Opening arguments in the trial of McVeigh started in 1997 with a group of prosecutors headed by Hartzler. Hartzler outlined the motivations of McVeigh as well as the evidence for the crime. He said that McVeigh had developed a feeling of dislike towards the federal government while in the army, when he read The Turner Diaries. McVeigh’s beliefs obtained the support from the reservees’ ideological resistance to increments in taxes that was further strengthened by the Ruby Ridge and Waco incidents. His prosecution required one hundred and thirty-seven witnesses, who included Michael Fortier, Lori, and Jennifer McVeigh. Fortier and Lori attested that McVeigh had informed them about his plans to attack Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by bombing it. Lori attested that she helped in creating the fake identification that enabled McVeigh to obtain the Ryder truck from the rental agency.
Fortier attested that Nichols had forcefully acquired finances from a gun dealer to fund the cost of constructing the bombing device. According to Fortier, Nichols had helped his conspirator, McVeigh, to survey the federal building before the bombing. The wife to Nichols attested that her husband had visited Oklahoma City few days before the attack, thus evidencing that Nichols helped his conspirator, McVeigh, prepare for the bombing. Nichols’ prosecution called about one hundred witnesses to associate Nichols with McVeigh regarding the bombing incident. The prosecution indicated that Nichols helped his conspirator steal and purchase bomb components, assemble the explosive device, and park the lam vehicle near the targeted federal building.
Conviction of Nichols and McVeigh
In 1997, Timothy McVeigh was convicted of conspiracy and eleven counts of murder . In spite of the defense’s effort to ensure that McVeigh does not face a death sentence, he was finally sentenced to death. The FBI announced in 2001 to have withheld more than three thousand necessary documents from the defense counsel of McVeigh. Therefore, the execution of McVeigh was postponed for a period of one month to allow the defense to fully review the documents. McVeigh was not found innocent after the documents were reviewed and the federal judge ordered the death penalty to proceed. The former President of the United States, George W. Bush, was required to approve the execution before McVeigh was put to death by lethal injection. On 11th June, 2001, McVeigh was put to death by a lethal injection.
Terry Nichols was tried twice before his ultimate convictions. In 1997, the federal government found Nichols guilty of colluding to build an explosive device of mass destruction, as well as eight counts of murdering federal officers involuntarily. Nichols was incarcerated on 4th June, 1998, for a maximum prison term without parole, after which the State of Oklahoma tried to subject him to death-penalty as it convicted him on 161 counts of planned murder (Chermak & Bailey, 2007). On 26th May, 2004, the jury convicted Nichols on all complaints, but stalemated on the issue of being sentenced to death. Nichols was imprisoned in Florence ADMAX USP for 161 successive life times without parole.
It is possible that Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh are not the only people who participated in Oklahoma City bombing. The evidential information about other participants was possibly disregarded by the government to void muddling the cases against Nichols and McVeigh. The government might have thought that laying out evidence about the involvement of other individuals that could potentially baffle a jury .