A man testified at Terry Nichols’ murder trial Thursday that a large Ryder truck and a pickup were parked together at a Kansas lake the day before the Oklahoma City bombing.
Prosecutors allege the Ryder truck was the one that delivered the bomb that destroyed the federal building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people. They say the smaller truck seen by Richard Wall matched the description of one owned by Nichols.
“To my thought, it was just out of place,” said Wall, who was fishing with his son at Geary Lake on April 18 of that year. “I thought maybe some criminal activity may be going on.”
Wall, then an Army sergeant stationed at nearby Fort Riley, testified that he saw no activity around the trucks and that the pickup parked alongside the Ryder truck was blue or brown and had a camper shell over the bed.
Prosecutors allege that Nichols and executed bomber Timothy McVeigh went to the remote area to build the 4,000-pound ammonium-nitrate-and-fuel-oil bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Nichols, 49, is serving a life sentence for federal convictions in the bombing and deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers. The state murder charges are for the other 160 victims and one victim’s fetus. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Nichols’ attorneys earlier this week asked the judge to dismiss the case because, they say, documents indicate others helped McVeigh in the bomb plot and that McVeigh “manipulated Mr. Nichols to take the blame.”
Judge Steven Taylor is not expected to rule on that motion until next week.
In other testimony Thursday, FBI agent William West said he recovered anti-government documents from Nichols’ Herington, Kan., home three days after the bombing.
The documents, including one entitled “U.S. government Initiates Open Warfare Against the American People,” are similar to papers found in McVeigh’s car when he was arrested the day of the bombing.
West said he also seized documents that referred to the 1993 government siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, that ended with about 80 deaths. Authorities say the bombing was a twisted plot to avenge the siege.
Another FBI agent, Leslie Earl III, said he seized a copy of the novel “The Hunter” during the search of Nichols’ home. The book was written by white supremacist William Pierce under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald; he also wrote “The Turner Diaries,” which prosecutors say was a blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing.
The plot of “The Hunter” involves a senior FBI official motivated by hate for Jews, homosexuals and mixed-race couples who hires a man to bomb buildings.