DENVER (AP) _ Unlike Timothy McVeigh, Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols has admitted to plotting the terrorist attack, say investigators.

The confession should be powerful evidence for prosecutors, but Nichols says something else _ he quit the scheme and never told police because he did not think McVeigh would do it.

The country may soon get to hear his side.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, who presided over McVeigh's trial and read off the guilty verdicts Monday, says he wants Nichols' trial to start as quickly as possible.

Nichols, 41, a former Army buddy of McVeigh, faces the same charges in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. He also faces the death penalty.

Nichols entered the case when investigators learned of his association with McVeigh from friends of the two men.

Two days after the explosion, Nichols walked into his hometown police station in Herington, Kan., with his wife _ a 23-year-old mail-order bride from the Philippines _ after hearing that police were looking for him.

He was interrogated for hours while his home was searched. There police say they found:

_A drill bit that matched marks made on a drilled-out padlock at a quarry break-in six months before the bombing in which blasting caps and boxes of high explosives were stolen.

_A receipt for the purchase of explosive fertilizer, with McVeigh's fingerprints.

_A prepaid telephone card that prosecutors contend was used to make dozens of calls in search of bomb components.

_A Michigan license plate with a number similar to that of the plate number given by a Terry Havens who checked into a motel in Salina, Kan., where a man using the name Mike Havens bought two tons of explosive fertilizer.

_Bomb components, fertilizer and anti-government literature.

Nichols' background regarding politics is similar to McVeigh's.

He served with McVeigh at Fort Riley, Kan., and left in 1989 on an unspecified hardship discharge. He renounced his right to vote in 1992 because of ``total corruption in the entire political system,'' then went on to work as a hired ranch hand and dealer in military surplus goods.

His wife at the time of his arrest, Marife, was his second and has since returned to the Philippines. They had a 2-year-old daughter at the time and an infant son. A 2-year-old son suffocated in a plastic laundry bag in 1993.

He has a teen-age son, Josh, by a first marriage.

During his interrogation, Nichols said he and McVeigh learned how to make bombs while they were selling military surplus items at gun shows around the country in 1994 and 1995.

He said that he and McVeigh were in Oklahoma City three days before the bombing and that he lent McVeigh his pickup truck the day before the attack.

Friends of McVeigh, such as Michael Fortier, testified at McVeigh's trial that Nichols wanted out of the plot and refused to help build the bomb. At one point McVeigh was supposedly laughing at Nichols for buying explosive fertilizer by the pound.

Nichols has claimed he did not call authorities about the bomb plot because he didn't think McVeigh was serious and believed he couldn't carry out the attack without help.

Although McVeigh's conviction increases the pressure on Nichols to seek a plea bargain, prosecutors have said they are not inclined to offer him one.