Latest Material Witness Was in Same Spots as McVeigh
KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) _ Gary A. Land liked to lift weights, listen to country music and drink beer, lots of beer. He’d been arrested a few times for petty crimes.
He also has an intriguing trait: He keeps showing up in the same spots as Timothy McVeigh, the only man charged so far in the Oklahoma City bombing.
During the time that McVeigh stayed at two budget motels in this dusty desert town, Land was holed up in a motel-apartment unit just 200 yards west and across the road.
Land left on a 1,000-mile drive to Oklahoma on April 3, just nine days before authorities say McVeigh traveled the same route.
And on the day of the bombing, Land checked in briefly to a motel in Perry, Okla., where McVeigh had just been arrested for driving without a license plate and carrying a gun.
Authorities would not say if Land, a 35-year-old drifter, is the elusive ``John Doe 2,″ the well-muscled, tan and tattooed subject of an intensive manhunt. Nor have they outlined his connection, if any, to McVeigh.
But Land and an older companion, Robert Jacks, were being held Tuesday as material witnesses after being arrested by the FBI at a small motel in Carthage, Mo.
The Kel Lake Motel was the last stop on the two men’s ragtag journey across Indiana, Arizona and Oklahoma the past three years.
Before that, they apparently drifted through Sacramento, Calif., in the early 1990s.
A man named Gary A. Land, whose Social Security number is very close to that on Land’s Arizona license, is wanted on a warrant there for failing to show up for court dates in 1990 on two separate charges of petty theft.
Jacks’ California driver’s license was suspended in Sacramento in 1992 following an arrest for allegedly driving under the influence. Different documents give Jacks’ age as either 55 or 60.
At each temporary location, their lifestyle was the same _ they interrupted sitting around only to buy beer, often by the case.
As far as anyone could tell, Land did not hold a job, and Jacks was collecting either a pension or Social Security check.
``They’re oddballs, let me tell you,″ said Mickey Linkous, who rented them a Richmond, Ind., house for six months in 1992. The two broke their lease and threatened her when she refused to refund a deposit, she told the Palladium-Record of Richmond.
Beginning in April 1993, Land and Jacks stayed for nine months in a mobile home peeling grayish-white paint at Copper State Motel and Trailer Park, off a busy main street in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Ariz.
A neighbor recalls the men often toted a gun. Land pumped iron on an outdoor bench when he wasn’t making beer runs.
``They had a fat-looking gun, and they would take it from the trailer to the car and the car to the trailer,″ said Opal Hancock, who lived across the street.
The two next headed to Arizona’s eastern edge.
On Nov. 3, 1994, they began a five-month stay at El Travotore Motel in Kingman, shifting to three different rooms all now under FBI seal.
The place is just down the road from the two motels where McVeigh stayed in February and early April. But no one recalls seeing McVeigh with Land or Jacks.
``They were loners. They were by themselves all the time. They drank a lot of beer. I’d see them bringing 24-packs from the store,″ said motel owner Bill Terranova.
The men never had a phone installed and received only one piece of mail in five months _ Land’s Arizona driver’s license.
A handyman at the motel, Bob Spencer, drank with them sometimes. He said Land often wore a cap with a Los Angeles Raiders logo, and talked about football and women.
Land also played country music tapes in his room. And he and Jacks bought a 19-inch color TV from Terranova and sold it back when they left April 3.
``The older one said they were going to Oklahoma to visit his two sons,″ Terranova said.
On the day of the bombing, April 19, two men believed to be Land and Jacks checked into a motel in Vinita, Okla. _ 180 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, according to the motel’s manager.
That same day, men the manager swears were Land and Jacks checked into the Dan D motel in Perry, 60 miles north of Oklahoma City. McVeigh had been arrested the day before and jailed in Perry on weapons and traffic violations.
Manager Mike Umstead said they checked in between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. April 19. He believes they spent the night because he saw their car the next morning.
They checked back in to Deward and Pauline’s motel in Vinita later on April 20, and stayed at least until April 24, said Juanita Crafton, one of the managers.
They arrived at the motel in Carthage, Mo. _ 200 miles up Interstate 44 from Oklahoma City _ late Monday afternoon. They were under FBI surveillance Monday night and arrested Tuesday morning.