Two Men Taken into Custody in Missouri
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ FBI agents hunting the elusive ``John Doe 2″ raided a Missouri motel Tuesday, capturing two men who traveled a path of cheap motels from Arizona to Oklahoma that paralleled the movements of bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh.
Gary Alan Land and Robert Jacks _ objects of an FBI all-points bulletin _ were arrested at daybreak in Carthage, Mo., as material witnesses in the Oklahoma City bombing.
A driver’s license photo of Land, a 35-year-old drifter with a record of petty crimes, bore a passing resemblance to the heavyset, square-jawed figure in the FBI sketch of John Doe 2, wanted in the nation’s worst domestic terrorist attack.
The man arrested had a mustache, a feature not pictured in the drawing. However, an apartment manager who saw Land on April 3 said he was clean-shaven then.
Asked if Land could be the muscular, tattooed John Doe 2, FBI spokesman Dan Vogel said: ``We don’t know that. We have not determined whether he is or not.″
Later in the day, a law enforcement source in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said federal investigators might release Land and Jacks because authorities were having trouble finding grounds to hold them.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the April 19 explosion reached 141, including 15 children. About 40 people were missing.
Investigators pursued leads in Arizona, Oklahoma and Kansas, and a federal grand jury investigating McVeigh’s case heard testimony in Oklahoma City.
Among those testifying were Ed and Linda Paulsen, owners of Paulsen’s Military Supply in Antigo, Wis. The Paulsens were linked to the case when one of their crumpled business cards was found in the police car that took McVeigh to jail.
``We told them what we’ve been saying all along, that we have absolutely no association with the man,″ Paulsen told The Associated Press.
At a federal court hearing for McVeigh’s buddy James Nichols, FBI Special Agent Randall Farmer testified that an informant heard Nichols bragging that ``the technology existed for a super bomb that could blow up a federal building.″
The conversation took place about six years ago, Farmer said.
The testimony came at a hearing on a motion to dismiss charges against Nichols, who’s being held in Milan, Mich.
He’s charged with conspiring with his brother, Terry Nichols, and McVeigh to make and detonate bombs on his Michigan farm. The Nichols brothers aren’t charged in the federal building bombing and McVeigh isn’t charged in the Michigan case.
Nichols was ordered held in federal custody until a preliminary hearing May 12.
Also charged in the Michigan bomb case is Nichols’ brother, Terry, who is being held in Wichita, Kan., as a material witness in the Oklahoma City case. Terry Nichols’ attorney said he would appeal an order transferring his client to Oklahoma City to appear before a grand jury.
McVeigh and the shadowy John Doe 2 are the only people named as suspects in the Oklahoma City bombing.
The FBI has described John Doe 2 as a possible weightlifter. Land’s neighbors in Mesa, Ariz., said he was often seen lifting weights outside his trailer.
Attorney General Janet Reno would only say Land was sought because he ``possessed information about the bombing.″ She said Land and Jacks were cooperating with the FBI, and she cautioned against speculation that Land might be John Doe 2.
``I would ask everyone to let the investigation proceed and not jump to conclusions,″ she said.
Dozens of state and federal officers in riot gear and armed with shotguns and automatic weapons surrounded the Kel Lake Motel, 20 miles east of the Oklahoma line, at 6 a.m. They evacuated the other rooms, then called Land and Jacks on their room phone, telling them to come out.
``As the door opened, I could hear one of the officers yell, `Put your hands in the air! If you make a move, we’ll blow you away!‴ said Lee Snyder, who was delivering newspapers across the street.
The two men, who had been under surveillance since Monday night, surrendered without a struggle and were whisked away.
Investigators earlier traced the two to a Vinita, Okla., motel 40 miles southwest of Carthage. They raided the site Saturday night with a strike force that included a helicopter. The pair had left four days earlier.
The movements of Land and Jacks appear to shadow those of McVeigh in the hours immediately after the bombing.
The pair first checked into Deward and Pauline’s motel in Vinita, a small town 180 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, on the afternoon of the bombing. Motel manager Tom Crafton said the men left the next day, then checked back in later that same day and stayed until April 24.
The two were seen in Perry, a city 60 miles north of Oklahoma City, on the evening after the bombing. Mike Umstead, manager of the Dan D Motel, said Land and Jacks checked in between 7:30 and 9 p.m., paying cash in advance. He believes the pair left sometime the next morning.
McVeigh was arrested on the morning of the bombing on weapons and traffic offenses and was jailed in Perry. The 27-year-old former GI wasn’t identified as a suspect in the bombing until two days later.
Crafton has given conflicting descriptions of Land, saying at times he looked like John Doe 2, telling others he bore no resemblance. Umstead said Land did not look like the sketch of the fugitive being circulated by the FBI.
``I was busy watching television about the explosion and didn’t pay too much attention to them,″ Umstead said.
The pair’s movements also matched those of McVeigh’s in the months leading to the bombings.
Land and Jacks, 60, lived at El Trovatore Motel in Kingman, Ariz., from Nov. 3 to April 3, according to managers Bill and June Terranova. When the two men left, they said they were headed for Oklahoma. McVeigh stayed at two nearby motels during that period: the Hilltop from Feb. 11-17 and the Imperial from March 31 to April 12.
Land lived at the Copper State Motel & Trailer Park in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa nine months before moving out in December 1993, said Opal Hancock, a neighbor.
Hancock said Land could often be seen lifting weights outside his trailer, where he lived with another man. ``They were just weird,″ Hancock said. ``They would just sit there drinking all day.″
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said a preliminary check found no evidence Land served in the military.
In other developments:
_President Clinton asked Congress for $142 million to pay to investigate the bombing, keep federal agencies in Oklahoma City operating and bolster anti-terrorism efforts. The request also includes money to tear down the federal building and establish replacement offices for hundreds of displaced workers.
_Carloads of FBI agents descended on the Kingman, Ariz., mobile home of Michael Fortier on Monday night, prying off baseboards and carting away cardboard boxes and plastic crates. During McVeigh’s Kingman stay, he listed Fortier’s home as his address and worked various jobs Fortier helped him find.
Fortier served in the Army with McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
Witnesses said Fortier drove off in his black Jeep shortly before the Monday raid. He was back at the trailer Tuesday, where he refused to speak to a reporter.
_Outside of Junction City, Kan., FBI agents set up a roadblock Tuesday to gather information about a lakeside site that may have been the bomb assembly point. Federal agents and divers scoured the shore and the water Monday.
_Recovery operations at the bombing site slowed as officials decided to limit their search for bodies to daylight hours.