Terry Nichols admits helping Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh

Sunday, November 28th 2004, 11:58 am
By: News On 6

Terry Nichols confessed he helped build the bomb used in Oklahoma City, before he stood trial on state murder charges.

The confession came during a secret plea negotiation that fell through. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has the story.

Terry Nichols defense lawyers wanted the state to stop pursuing a death sentence and prosecutors wanted Nichols to come clean. Neither side got what they wanted, but in a copyright story, the Daily Oklahoman reports Nichols admitted he helped buy the bomb ingredients, helped test the components assemble the bomb and that he picked up McVeigh in Oklahoma City.

Nichols denied helping pick the target or knowing which building McVeigh selected. He said he didn't know if anyone else was involved and wouldn't say where he hid leftover bomb components. That led prosecutors to drop the deal.

On the release of the statement, Nichols' prosecutor Wes Lane said: "The public finally gets a glimpse of my frustration with Terry Nichols, and his refusal to tell us where certain bomb-making materials are still hidden, even to this day."

During the trial, Terry Nichols never took the stand, but made a vague admission of guilt in a statement afterward. He was more direct before trial, when a confession could help him avoid trial altogether.

Nichols said: "I was involved in the gathering and storing of the components of the bomb, the testing of some of the components, going to Oklahoma City on Easter Sunday to pick up McVeigh, and the actual making of the bomb.''

Legal analyst Irven Box: “He still isn't a, a person who's come forward and, and saying, look I made a mistake. I, I'm sorry about it. I want to ask forgiveness. He doesn't really say that. He does things that benefit him and that's only reason I think he made any statements at all.”

With a deal out the question, the case went to trial. Nichols was convicted of murder, but spared the death penalty by a split jury.

A juror contacted by the News on 6 refused to speculate on whether the confession would have influenced the jury. She said only the trial was "over and done with."