View Thread : Nichols gets life, apparently "It was evil twin, Jerry Nichols" defense didn't work

Great Rumbler
DENVER (CNN) -- Nearly six months after a jury found him guilty for his part in the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, Terry Nichols was sentenced by a federal judge to spend the rest of his life in prison. The bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 500 others.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch imposed the sentence of life without parole -- as called for in federal sentencing guidelines -- for Nichols' conviction in December on charges of conspiring, along with Timothy McVeigh, to blow up the building with a truck bomb.

"What he did was participate with others in a conspiracy that would seek to destroy all the things that the Constitution protects," Matsch said. "He has been proven to be an enemy of the Constitution."

In addition, Nichols, 43, was given a 48-year sentence for his convictions on eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, to be served concurrently. He was also ordered to pay the government $14 million for the damage caused to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Nichols declines to make statement
Given the opportunity to make a statement before sentencing, Nichols declined. He shook hands with some of his attorneys and hugged others before being led from the courtroom.

Matsch had said previously he would be inclined to impose a lesser sentence if Nichols disclosed new information about the April 19, 1995, bombing. But defense attorneys said they were reluctant to have Nichols make any statements because he still faces state murder charges in Oklahoma, where prosecutors have vowed to seek the death penalty.

Lead prosecutor Larry Mackey said he was "grateful" for the sentence.

"Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols were wrong about America. They could launch a violent, ugly, horrifically horrible act against innocent people, but their plot would fail," Mackey said. "They have been defeated."

McVeigh, an Army buddy of Nichols' whom prosecutors say was the mastermind behind the bombing, was convicted on murder and conspiracy charges by a different jury and sentenced to death.

Defense vows to appeal
Defense attorney Michael Tigar said that "just as we have disagreed with many of the judge's rulings, we disagreed with what happened today." He vowed to appeal.

"We are prepared to be in this case all the way to the vindication of Terry Nichols," he said.

At the start of Thursday's sentencing hearing, the defense filed a request for a new trial, contending that jury deliberations were tainted because jurors worked in small groups, rather than discussing the case en masse. The motion was based on interviews with jurors that were published Sunday in a Denver newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News.

Matsch gave prosecutors a week to respond to the motion but refused to delay sentencing.

Survivors, victims' relatives make appeals
Before the sentence was passed, survivors of the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil and relatives of those who died were allowed to make statements to the court. Nichols sat still with his hands clasped in front of his face and appeared to be dry-eyed throughout.

"I'm here to pray the court will not show leniency, please, and assess the greatest sentence that can be given by law," said survivor Patti Hall.

Rudy Guzman, whose brother, Randy, was killed, said, "Your honor, please give Terry Nichols the stiffest punishment you can impose. ... Please keep him locked up so he'll never hurt anyone again."

"This bombing not only has affected my family but hundreds of thousands of people. Our family alone has received 600,000 sympathy cards," said Sandy Battreall, whose brother, 46-year-old Harley Cottingham Jr., died in the bombing.

Marsha Kight, whose 23-year-old daughter, Frankie Merrell, was killed in the blast, did not specify what penalty she thought Nichols deserved. But she told Matsch, "Our sentence from this tragedy is life."

"There's no time off for good behavior for all the sorrow we have been through," she said.

"It's the hardest thing a mother will ever have to do is bury a child," Kight said. "If I had one wish in the world, it would be that no one would ever again have to go through what I have endured."

Defense had asked for 7-year sentence
Nichols was convicted in December of conspiracy and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter. The jury acquitted him of murder and weapons-related charges. The panel failed to agree on a sentence, which is why the task fell to Matsch.

Prosecutors had asked Matsch to abide by the guidelines and sentence Nichols to life in prison. Under federal law, Matsch could not impose the death penalty. Nichols' attorneys recommended a maximum term of seven years, insisting their client was building "a life, not a bomb."

Nichols has said nothing publicly since his arrest shortly after the bombing. He expressed remorse in a letter written to Matsch after the trial ended last year.

Brother: Nichols 'upset'
Nichols' brother, James, from his farm in Michigan, said he had talked to Terry Nichols before the sentencing hearing.

"He's mad. He's upset," James Nichols said. "Because he's innocent. He's been convicted of a crime he didn't commit."

Nichols' ex-wife, Lana Padilla, and their teen-age son, Josh, were in the Denver courtroom Thursday and wept after the life sentence was pronounced. His current wife, Marife, and their two children were not there. They have moved to the Philippines.

Nichols' life sentence came a week after another Army colleague, Michael Fortier, who gave crucial testimony for the prosecution in both trials, was given a 12-year prison sentence. He admitted knowing about the bombing plot but did not alert authorities.

I think he deserved the death penalty.

Hey you changed the thread title.

Great Rumbler
I like this one better.