Judge OKs haircut plan; Sheriff objects

Friday, May 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel isn't happy with a judge's ok to start granting exceptions to one, then you have to give them for all," Sheriff John Whetsel said Thursday after Associate District Judge Robert M. Murphy Jr. issued his ruling. He may ask the prosecution to appeal.

Nichols wants to have Brian Hermanson's wife cut his hair for safety reasons. Defense attorneys don't want a stranger with scissors around Nichols and don't want him to end up with a buzz cut from electric clippers.

Nichols is being held in the county jail. He has been charged in state court with 160 counts of first-degree murder stemming from the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Murphy said Nichols could get his hair cut by Hermanson's wife or by a licensed barber at state expense.

"The defendant is a pretrial detainee and the law presumes him innocent and this includes the right for him to have the appearance of innocence," Murphy wrote.

Most inmates at the county jail can hire licensed barbers to cut their hair or have other inmates use electric clippers. Sometimes a licensed barber is convicted of a crime and works off his community sentence by cutting inmates' hair.

Hermanson said he trusted his wife with scissors near his client more than he would anyone else.