OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A judge on Friday set Aug. 7 for the start of a preliminary hearing that will decide whether conspirator Terry Nichols stands trial on state murder charges in the Oklahoma City bombing case.

Associate District Judge Robert Murphy Jr. set the date during a contentious hearing for Nichols, 44, where prosecution and defense attorneys bickered about everything from the cost of copying documents to how to address Nichols in court.

Defense attorney Brian Hermanson said he cannot be ready in time for the preliminary hearing, which Murphy said may last up to six weeks. If the lawyers read one page a minute for eight hours a day, five days a week, Hermanson said, it would take 16 years to read all of the approximately 2 million documents involved in the case.

Murphy took under advisement a motion filed by prosecutors to enforce a county court rule directing defense attorneys to address Nichols as ``the accused'' or ``the defendant'' in court instead of ``Terry.''

Nichols was brought to Oklahoma City on Jan. 31 from Colorado, where he was serving a life prison sentence after being convicted of federal charges of conspiracy and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers.

The April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

Nichols is charged in Oklahoma with 160 counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of victims other than the eight federal agents. He could be sentenced to death if convicted.

Bombing co-conspirator Timothy McVeigh was convicted of murder at his federal trial and sentenced to death.