A farmer’s co-op manager testified at the Terry Nichols murder trial Friday that a man calling himself Mike Havens bought two tons of fertilizer in 1994 of the type used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Prosecutors say Havens is one of Nicholas’ aliases. But Frederick Schlender Jr., who ran the co-op’s branch in McPherson, Kan., testified that he could not identify Nichols as the buyer.
Schlender said the man identified himself as Havens when he bought the first ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in September 1994. A man using the same name purchased another 2,000 pounds the following month, Schlender said.
Three days after the bombing, FBI agents found a receipt for the first purchase, bearing the Havens name, in Nichols’ home in Herington, Kan., about 40 miles from the co-op.
Ammonium nitrate fertilizer was a key ingredient in the homemade bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people.
Schlender said it was not the co-op’s policy to ask for identification on fertilizer purchases.
Was McVeigh second man?
He said the buyer was alone during the first purchase but had a second person with him during the second. He said he could not identify the second person. Authorities have said the second man was believed to be co-conspirator Timothy McVeigh.
In both purchases, Schlender said, the fertilizer was put in a red trailer made from the bed of an old pickup truck and pulled by a dark blue pickup with a white top over the bed.
The appearance Friday by Schlender, the 37th witness in the case, wrapped up the first week of testimony in Nichols’ state trial.
Nichols is charged with 161 state first-degree murder charges for his role in the bombing. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
He is already serving a life prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy convictions for the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers in the bombing. The state charges are for the other 160 victims and one victim’s fetus.
McVeigh was convicted of federal murder charges and executed in 2001.
Prosecutors allege that Nichols and McVeigh worked together to gather components for the ammonium nitrate and fuel oil bomb and build it.
The government says the bombing was a twisted plot to avenge the deaths of about 80 people exactly two years earlier at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas.
On Thursday, Kansas rancher Tim Donahue testified that Nichols offered anti-government views and railed against the Waco siege while working as a farmhand at Donahue’s ranch near Marion, Kan., between March and September 1994.
“I recall his disagreement with the government getting involved in people’s lives,” Donahue said. “You could tell he was committed and convicted to his belief. He would get somewhat angry about it.”