A human leg found after the Oklahoma City bombing did not match any of the known 168 victims, the state medical examiner testified Friday.
In grisly testimony at bombing conspirator Terry Nichols’ state murder trial, Dr. Fred Jordan described the injuries suffered by bombing victims, including crushed chests and broken and severed limbs.
Nichols’ attorney Barbara Bergman pressed Jordan for details about the unidentified leg, indicating it may be important in Nichols’ defense.
Jordan said the leg, which was pulled from debris more than a month after the April 19, 1995, bombing, may have belonged to a woman but that the victim’s identity is unknown.
“This is a mystery to which I don’t have the answer,” he said.
Jordan said homeless people frequented the area around the federal building. He said the leg was clean-shaven, leading anthropologists to conclude it belonged to a woman, possibly of mixed race. “It took us years to come to that conclusion,” Jordan said.
Attorneys for bombing co-conspirator Timothy McVeigh suggested at his trial that the leg belonged to the real bomber. Nichols’ defense attorneys maintain that McVeigh was aided by other co-conspirators and that Nichols was set up to take the blame.
Members of Nichols’ jury appeared uncomfortable as Jordan methodically described the physical trauma victims suffered. Nichols looked at the medical charts as they were displayed on television monitors, but showed no emotion.
One victim was 1-year-old Baylee Almon, whose photograph in the arms of firefighter Chris Fields came to symbolize the horror of the bombing. Jordan said Baylee suffered an extensive skull fracture and died almost instantly.
She was one of 19 children who died, most in a day care center on the second floor.
The body of another victim, Kathryn Elizabeth Ridley, 24, was recovered in a parking lot across the street. Jordan said Ridley suffered fourth-degree burns from the fireball caused by the blast.
Nichols, 49, is serving a life sentence for the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers in the bombing. The state trial is for the deaths of 160 other victims and one victim’s fetus. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
McVeigh was executed in 2001.
The prosecution in the Nichols case plans to conclude its case by May 4. Defense attorneys would begin presenting evidence May 6 and have indicated they may call up to 800 witnesses on Nichols’ behalf.
The trial began March 1 and is expected to last four to six months.