Transcript of Thursday's court session in the trial of Timothy
The Associated Press
May. 30, 1997
Transcript of Thursday's court session in the trial of Timothy McVeigh, as prepared by the official court reporter and distributed by PubNETics Inc. of Denver.
PICKUP: that day?
We heard testimony regarding Dreamland witnesses, Herta King, and the like. Eric McGown was the only witness to see two things: To see a Ryder truck and to see Tim McVeigh in the Ryder truck. Notice that none of the defense witnesses who were called could put Mr. McVeigh in that Ryder truck. What does that mean? We don't know whether that Ryder truck on Sunday was McVeigh's Ryder truck or some other truck. In fact Herta King testified that the truck she saw she thought was smaller than the big truck.
And not only that, but if you look at the other defense witnesses, the testimony of the Ryder witnesses conflicted a bit with the testimony of the Mercury witnesses. You heard the Whites testify that they were there that morning until about 10:30, no Ryder trucks that they saw. By noon there's two Ryder trucks there. You have to sneak that Ryder truck in. Of course it's got to be Mr. McVeigh's. The problem is that Miss King says it's not the big truck.
You heard testimony that the bridge was out right near the Dreamland at that time, and there was a lot of construction vehicles and lots of trucks around. And it's just as likely that this truck was not at all related to this case; but the key point is McVeigh and Ryder together.
And by the way, exactly what is the defense point about this? If their assertion is that it was Mr. McVeigh that had a Ryder truck there Sunday, where exactly did that truck come from?
I'm going to ask you to go way back in your memories to toward the beginning of the case when Andy Anderson testified, the man from Ryder. And he told you that he checked the national record base for Ryder trucks in the name of McVeigh, Tuttle, and all his other aliases for April of '95, and no rental. What's more reasonable, that Mr. McVeigh just materialized this truck with no rental record or that there was more than one truck or that these two defense witnesses, Miss Truong and Miss King, who go to the Dreamland all the time, those people are there day in and day out -- in fact, Miss Truong lived there for a while -- that they were mistaken about when they saw a Ryder truck there and it was another truck. And even if you ignore the Dreamland evidence that we presented, does that mean that Mr. McVeigh didn't rent the truck on Monday?
Now, the next defense that I need to address is ``the bomber's not that stupid'' defense. And ``the bomber's not that stupid'' defense goes something like this: Would I -- if I was going to commit this bombing, would I check into the Dreamland with my own name and order Chinese food in the name of the alias? Would I drive without tags down the freeway? Would I not shoot the trooper when he came up to me? Would I not order bomb books -- or would I order bomb books in my own name? Would I not wear a disguise at Elliott's? Would I carry incriminating literature in my car? Would I save an ammonium nitrate receipt that reflected the purchase of 2,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate? Would I leave the lock on the ANFO trailer when I did a burglary? Would I rent lockers in phony names? Would I give the Nichols address when I rented one of those lockers?
The only thing that distinguishes this case from any other trial and this jury, yourselves, from any other jury is the monstrosity and inhumanity of the actual crime, but what we have here is a crime. Your job is to decide whether or not the Government's proved that this defendant committed this crime. No more, no less.
And the monstrosity of the crime to one side, Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols like all -- are not any different than any other defendants who find themselves in a criminal court. They make mistakes, and that's why they get caught. And this argument is completely circular, the argument that this defense team makes: The argument that, well, if I had done this crime, I wouldn't have made this mistake. Any defendant in any case could make the same argument about all the evidence against him. It proves absolutely nothing.
Now, let me show you another chart regarding that Hunam purchase.
Just like the Manning evidence, the Hunam evidence is also susceptible to being established in large part through documents. Forget about witnesses. The connection of Tim McVeigh to this evidence can be proved through documents. You have Tim McVeigh checking into the Dreamland, Room 25. There's a call from Room 25 -- this is the Dreamland record that's in evidence -- to the Hunam for delivery in the name Kling. Documents, not witnesses.
What does all this evidence show you, all this evidence regarding Tim McVeigh and Kling? What it shows you is that you have three different categories, three different lines of proof, all independent of one another, different arrows with different evidence behind it, all pointing to the same thing: That Tim McVeigh is Robert Kling.
You have the witness testimony, Eldon Elliott and Lori Fortier: Eldon Elliott of course identifying him, Lori Fortier telling you about the lamination that she handled with her iron. You've got the McVeigh Firestone evidence which is one line of proof, and it doesn't depend on any of the historical witnesses. And you've got the Dreamland evidence, and that doesn't depend on any of the others. But what do they all show? Is it coincidence that all these lines of proof are going to the same central point?
And there was other evidence as well, of course, that I don't see beyond the Elliott's evidence. We have the McDonald's video that put Mr. McVeigh within a mile of the Dreamland; and right after, we've got the evidence of the double truck -- double wheel tracks that just happened to be the same width as a Ryder truck and just happened to be in front of Shed No. 2.
What else do we have? Something I want to show you, and this is in Government Exhibit 555. When Mr. McVeigh was in Arizona, before he ever left to come to Kansas, you heard from Mr. Hofer that he stayed at his motel, the Imperial Motel. And what is the reason we put that little man up on the stand to testify about Mr. McVeigh's presence there? The reason is that at the time Mr. McVeigh was staying at that motel, there was a Bridges call from there, from the motel in Arizona. And where was it to? It was to a Ryder rental outfit, another Ryder call, from before Mr. McVeigh ever got to Junction City, another call to a Ryder. You ask yourselves whether or not there's some specter or ghost out there that's Robert Kling or whether or not this is just another item of proof to show you who Robert Kling is.
Separate from the Junction City proof, you heard evidence from the fall of 1994. You heard evidence from people who Mr. McVeigh contacted who he knew back then. Greg Pfaff, Dave Darlak, Glynn Tipton, all people who identified Tim McVeigh as the person that was contacting them. Pfaff said he wanted det cord. At the same time, David Darlak saying my friend, not known to be in racing, is calling me up and wanting racing fuel.
Tipton testified that McVeigh walked up to him -- a man he was 90 percent sure was McVeigh walked up to him at that racetrack. And what did Mr. Tipton say about the height? I think we heard an incorrect statement during the defense argument. The testimony regarding the height was Mr. Tipton, when he first was talking to the agent, thought the man was 5' 8'', and then he remembered during that first interview that he was standing on a step and the person he was talking to wasn't. And in that first interview with the agent, he testified that the man he was talking to was about 6 feet tall.
What else did he tell you? He told you something that was extremely telling and established beyond any question that Mr. Tipton was thinking about Tim McVeigh. He told you that the man he saw had a scraggly beard. And at the time Mr. Tipton said this, the only thing that was public was Mr. McVeigh's walk-out video at Noble County, showing him as he is today. How did Mr. Tipton know that in fact Mr. McVeigh did sport a beard that day, if he didn't really see him? But you saw Government Exhibit 52, the photograph of Mr. McVeigh with the beard. Conclusive proof that Mr. Tipton knew what he was talking about, wasn't manipulated by any kind of questioning. In fact when Mr. Tipton testified about that, he told you -- I think his words were, My testimony is my own.
We have, from an entirely separate group of people in an entirely separate place, evidence that's completely consistent with the evidence outside Noble County and the evidence that we see at Junction City the weekend before the bombing.
When Mr. Jones ended his comments to you by talking about this extra leg -- I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it -- but the extra leg theory turns on -- and I apologize to Dr. Marshall -- but a rather bizarre theory he has about the ability of a piece of a body to survive when the rest of the body is completed disintegrated. And of course the only time in all his years he's ever seen that had to do with a body part that you recall what it is that's slightly different than an entire human leg. Dr. Marshall didn't even examine the leg in this case and he didn't know that in fact the leg in question was in perfectly good shape; it had been severed, but it was in good shape. It has not been mangled. It did not -- did not appear to have been subjected to that kind of trauma.
And what is the explanation for this leg? Well, we know that the leg that was -- this leg resulted from a leg that was -- from a course of events, and I'll try to go through them with you quickly because I know you're really -- I'm trying your patience now 'cause the dinner hour is past.
There was a leg that was found in the Murrah Building after the building was imploded, an extra leg. That leg was tested, and the FBI was able to determine from footprints that it belonged to a woman who was already buried in New Orleans. And then the testimony went that they took the leg to the body, removed the body from the grave, and found another leg in that casket. The problem was -- so they replaced the leg and sent the body to rest again.
The problem was that the leg that was in the casket had been so severely embalmed that there was no ability to get any DNA, and it had been so decayed that there was no ability to get any footprint or fingerprint off it. It was a left leg. The question was how do we find out whose leg this is.
The medical examiner's office was able to trace and find out that there was one casket that was put in the ground missing a leg. Now, this casket was missing a right leg. It had a left leg. But the nature of this crime is -- and I know it's hard to hear, but the nature of the crime is that this bomb created an effect -- a meat-grinder effect in that building. There were body parts everywhere.
The medical examiner's office did do a magnificent job. Is it more reasonable to believe that in a casket somewhere there are two right legs as opposed to a right and a left and that's why there's a mismatch here, or is it -- is Dr. Marshall's wacky theory about the whole body disintegrating except for an entire leg which is left intact more reasonable?