updated 6/4/2004 7:52:28 PM ET 2004-06-04T23:52:28

Attorneys for bombing conspirator Terry Nichols on Friday listed more than 20 mitigating factors they want to present jurors considering whether to sentence Nichols to life in prison, or lethal injection.

For example, the attorneys said, the jury should consider that Nichols believes in God and shows “a great chance for redemption.”

Another mitigating factor states: “Terry Nichols tries to help people. A cooperative, helpful person would be a stabilizing influence in prison.”

Defense attorneys met with Judge Steven Taylor without the jury present to consider what factors jurors will be allowed to consider as mitigation for his state murder convictions in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.

Defense presentation begins Monday
Taylor preliminarily approved the factors, outlined in a list of proposed jury instructions. The defense portion of the penalty phase testimony begins Monday.

Prosecutors rested their sentencing case against Nichols on Thursday with tearful testimony from the families of bombing victims, including a man whose wife died in the blast.

The defense list of mitigating factors state Nichols had never been arrested or convicted of any crime prior to the bombing, and that he has been “a model prisoner” in federal and state prisons and jails.

Another factor states Nichols continues to play an important role in the lives of his three young children. “These children dearly love their father” and value his life even if he is in prison, it says.

‘Not the same person’
Nichols serves as a religious mentor and “has responded warmly to those victims who have sought to communicate with him,” defense attorneys said. “Terry Nichols is not the same person he was nine years ago.”

Nichols, 49, is already serving life in prison on federal convictions for the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers in the explosion.

On May 26, Nichols’ jury found him guilty of 161 counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of the other 160 victims and one victim’s fetus.

The jury sentenced Nichols to life in prison without parole on the count involving the fetus. He faces life in prison or death by lethal injection on the other counts.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty because of a single aggravating factor, that Nichols knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person in the bombing.

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