Bomb Trial Testimony Gets Graphic
STEVEN K. PAULSON
Nov. 05, 1997
DENVER (AP) _ Richard Williams was in his first-floor office the morning a bomb ripped apart the Oklahoma City federal building. The next thing he recalls is waking up under a pile of rubble.
``I could visualize my left arm out to my side. At that point, I could not feel anything,'' he testified in a calm voice Tuesday.
Williams said he was pulled to safety by a police officer. He needed 150 stitches for shrapnel wounds and had a crushed hand, broken cheek bone and head wounds.
``I continually have glass coming out of my body,'' he told squeamish-looking jurors at Terry Nichols' murder and conspiracy trial.
Survivors and relatives who lost loved ones in the blast said they were emotionally drained by having to relive the bombing at a second trial. Timothy McVeigh was convicted in June of identical murder, conspiracy and weapons-related charges resulting from the April 19, 1995, bombing and sentenced to die.
``It was hard. Everybody was crying ... very emotional, very upset,'' said a pregnant Edye Smith, who lost her two sons, 3-year-old Colton and 2-year-old Chase.
Smith rubbed her belly as she sat in the courtroom and listened to testimony from Helena Garrett, a mother who searched frantically for her 16-month-old son only to learn later he was dead.
Ms. Garrett brought three jurors to tears as she told prosecutors how she waited anxiously for word of her toddler while rescue workers ``made a line of our babies'' at her feet.
``There was glass everywhere, all over the place, and I remember screaming, 'Don't lay our babies on the glass. They wouldn't want our babies on the glass.'''
Ms. Garrett learned three days later that her son, Tevin, died in the blast along with 167 other people. Nineteen of those who lost their lives were children.
As Ms. Garrett spoke, a half-dozen or so other victims' relatives quietly dabbed away tears. An agitated Nichols whispered emphatically to one of his lawyers as pictures of the dead babies were displayed.
Nichols, 42, also could be sentenced to die if convicted of murder, conspiracy and weapons-related counts.
In a soft voice, Nichols' lead attorney, Michael Tigar, gently asked Ms. Garrett two brief questions about the location of an alley. He has promised to question every prosecution witness; McVeigh's attorneys seldom cross-examined them.
Williams, the federal building's manager, and Susan Hunt, manager of the Housing and Urban Development office, described the chaotic scene of black smoke, wounded people and rubble shortly after the blast.
At one point, Williams began describing screams he heard as he left the area in an ambulance, but U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch cut him off.
``I think we're going on beyond what is relevant,'' Matsch said. It was one of a half-dozen objections he sustained, and even lectured Mrs. Hunt about limiting her answers.
Tears streamed down Roy Sells' face when a witness mentioned his wife, Leora Lee, a HUD secretary who died.
``I think the jury should be seeing the emotion because there is a lot of emotion in this case,'' he said afterward.