Terry Nichols Denied New Trial
Jul. 08, 1998
DENVER (AP) _ Terry Nichols' lost his bid for a new trial in the Oklahoma City bombing when a judge on Tuesday dismissed defense arguments that deliberations were tainted because jurors held improper conversations.
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch concluded the jurors deliberated responsibly over six days and unanimously convicted Nichols of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy, but acquitted him of murder and weapons-related counts.
Nichols, 43, was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 people. He has filed a notice of an intent to appeal.
Timothy McVeigh, his former Army buddy, has appealed his death sentence and conviction on murder, conspiracy and weapons-related counts in the bombing.
During his sentencing June 4, Nichols' attorneys filed the motion for a new trial, contending jurors had violated Matsch's instructions that they deliberate only as a group. The motion was based on a May 31 Rocky Mountain News interview with jurors.
In the article, jurors Todd Fockler and Tim Burge, who favored conviction, said they were stunned when the panel voted 10-2 for acquittal in an initial straw poll.
The newspaper said the two men discussed the case privately, and quoted Fockler as saying, ``I am not acquitting him until we've seen every piece of evidence.''
Prosecutors argued that jurors may have talked outside the group, but their conversations were not enough to warrant a new trial.