JUDGE considers preliminary hearing date for Nichols

Wednesday, May 23rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A state court hearing for Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed for one week to allow both sides to sift through evidence expected to be delivered by the FBI.

``All parties involved thought it would be better to postpone the status conference because they expect a considerable volume of information to be turned over to the state and in turn to Mr. Nichols over the next week,'' said Cheryl Camp, court spokeswoman.

The hearing was rescheduled for May 30.

State prosecutors were to report to District Judge Ray Dean Linder about any progress they have made in obtaining newly discovered FBI files about the case.

A preliminary hearing for Nichols had been set to begin Monday, but Linder postponed that to allow time for the files to be obtained. No new date was set for the preliminary hearing.

Nichols is charged with 160 counts of first-degree murder for the April 19, 1995, federal building bombing that killed 168 people and injured more than 500. State prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

A federal jury convicted Nichols, 46, on federal involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy charges and he was sentenced to life in prison.

During a telephone conference with Linder last week, Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Sandra Howell-Elliott said the FBI had not complied with her request for the newly discovered documents.

``We have tried really hard not to air with the court or with the public that we've had difficulties with the federal government from the beginning, but we have,'' Howell-Elliott said. ``It has not been a cooperative effort.''