Nichols seeks to disqualify prosecutor

Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma County's chief prosecutor was to defend himself Monday against charges that his personal involvement with victims of the Oklahoma City bombing should disqualify him from prosecuting bombing conspirator Terry Nichols.

Nichols, accused of 160 counts of first-degree murder and other state charges, has alleged that District Attorney Bob Macy's conduct has been unethical and that he has demonstrated "an emotional personal stake in the outcome of this case" -- charges Macy's office denies.

In a motion filed in April, defense attorneys said Macy was friends with bombing victims, has offices close to the attack and was directly involved in the rescue and recovery efforts.

"Mr. Macy's intense desire to see Terry Nichols die renders him incapable of acting as the 'minister of justice' demanded by the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct and the U.S. Constitution,"

the motion said.

Defense attorneys also want District Judge Ray Dean Linder, who is presiding over pretrial issues, to sanction Macy for allegedly violating a gag order with his comments to CBS News during its coverage of the dedication of the Oklahoma City National Memorial on the fifth anniversary of the bombing April 19.

In the interview, Macy was asked if the death penalty was the only punishment that fits the bombing.

"You should have been down there the first four or five days,"

Macy said. "There would be no question in your mind. ... I've sent several people to death row for killing one person. I certainly feel that death would be the appropriate punishment for killing 19 babies."

The bombing resulted in 168 deaths, more than 500 injuries and major property damage and destruction in the downtown area.

Nichols, 45, was sentenced to life in prison after his federal conviction on eight first-degree manslaughter counts and conspiracy charges. The manslaughter counts pertained to eight federal agents killed in the explosion.

A federal jury convicted Nichols' co-defendant, Timothy McVeigh, on eight counts of first-degree murder, as well as on conspiracy and weapons counts. A federal judge concurred with the panel's recommendation of death, and McVeigh awaits execution in a federal prison in Indiana.