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Nichols’ Case Lawyers Focus on Jury

December 12, 1997

DENVER (AP) _ Attorneys in Terry Nichols’ trial spent Friday deciding how to instruct the jury before it starts sorting through the mountain of evidence that accumulated during his six-week Oklahoma City bombing trial.

Some of the evidence is hard to miss: the 250-pound axle of a Ryder truck that was traced to co-defendant Timothy McVeigh; two 55-gallon barrels found in Nichols’ home; and an arsenal of guns that prosecutors say were stolen to finance the bombing.

But the more crucial details linking Nichols to the bombing are buried in the charts, fertilizer receipts and telephone calling card records that prosecutors say showed Nichols and McVeigh were in contact through the time the Ryder truck was rented three days before the blast. Court observers say it could take some time to go through it all.

Before jurors begin deliberating, however, attorneys for both sides will present their closing arguments Monday, and U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch will issue final instructions.

``They have a morass of minutia to master,″ said Denver defense attorney Scott Robinson, who attended both trials. ``The jurors really aren’t going to remember the importance of a given phone call unless they’re reminded of it. In this case, time and place is everything.″

Nichols, who didn’t testify during the trial, faces the death penalty if convicted of murder and conspiracy in the April 19, 1995, blast that killed 168 people. McVeigh was convicted on identical charges earlier this year and sentenced to die.

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