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Judge sets date for preliminary hearing

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A judge has scheduled a preliminary hearing to determine whether Terry Nichols should face a state murder trial for the Oklahoma City bombing.

State District Judge Ray Dean Linder set the hearing for Nov. 5-21. Linder will meet with attorneys on Oct. 29 to resolve any outstanding legal issues.

Oklahoma County prosecutors have filed 160 counts of first-degree murder against Nichols, 46, for his role in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The blast killed 168 people, injured more than 500 and caused major property damage in downtown Oklahoma City.

Nichols' Army buddy, Timothy McVeigh, was executed June 11 for parking the truck bomb outside the building and lighting the fuse.

A federal jury in 1997 convicted Nichols of conspiracy and the involuntary manslaughter of eight federal agents. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane said last month he will press ahead with the state charges, in part as an insurance policy if Nichols somehow won an appeal or other challenge of his federal sentence.
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