Terry Nichols to be housed at state pen during trial

Thursday, October 23rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols will be held in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary during his murder trial in Pittsburg County, a deputy warden has confirmed.

Nichols is to stand trial March 1 on 161 counts of first-degree murder in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

The high-security penitentiary had been viewed as a likely candidate to house Nichols during the trial, and Deputy Warden of Security Kameron Harvanek now says this is certain, the McAlester News-Capital & Democrat reported Thursday in a copyright story.

The consensus is that the maximum-security H Unit, the part of the prison that contains death row, would be the best place in the penitentiary for him, Harvanek said. He would presumably be near death row but not on it.

District Judge Steven Taylor ordered the trial moved to his home court in Pittsburg County because of pretrial publicity in Oklahoma County. Nichols is currently being held in the Oklahoma County Detention Center, but is set to be moved to McAlester in January for pretrial legal proceedings.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department would be responsible for transporting Nichols from the penitentiary to the Pittsburg County Courthouse.

Nichols, 48, was convicted of federal charges in the Oklahoma City bombing and sentenced to life in prison for the death of eight federal agents. He now faces murder charges for the other victims of the blast, plus a fetus whose mother was killed. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.