Listen: Jurors hear about some very peculiar fertilizer sales, a burglary at a rock quarry, and about a treasure trove of evidence investigators found in Herrington. They also hear a letter McVeigh allegedly wrote in which he signed off by saying, “send no more letters after April 1st.” The Script to the show and some of the trial pictures follow.
Timothy McVeigh vs. The USA – Episode 4
Through Murrah’s autopsy, we’ve established how investigators identified the key feature of this case: the unique weapon. In order for jurors to believe that McVeigh was guilty, they would necessarily have to believe that he knew how to compose that bomb, possessed and/or had access to its components, and that he knew how to use them. You will recall that Lori mentioned a “light blue book” McVeigh used to learn the proper detonation ratios. Dana Rogers was the Chief Financial Officer at Paladin Press. They distributed books about military science, martial arts, police science and self-defense. They also use catalogues to show off their inventory. In March of 1992, a customer named Timothy McVeigh ordered 2 books. The first was “Ragnar’s Big Book of Homemade Weapons” for 25$; the second was called “Homemade C-4, a Recipe for Survival.” for $10. A copy of the table of contents from the latter was introduced to the jurors. Chapter 1: Ammonium Nitrate. Chapter 2: Nitromethane. Chapter 3. Home Manufacture of C-4. Chapter 4: The finished product. Here’s an excerpt from the catalogue from Ragnar’s Big Book: “Although fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate can usually be purchased from nurseries and garden supply stores, a better source for explosives manufacture is farm supply stores. The explosives made by mixing ammonium Nitrate with nitromethane seems to possess all the desirable characteristics of high-grade military explosives. If you used Anhydrous Hydrazine with that Ammonium Nitrate, you’re going to have the most powerful chemical explosive known to man, short of an actual atomic reaction.” The FBI tracked down that receipt. Fingerprint Louis Hupp – the same that individualized McVeigh’s prints on the documents in the Mercury – also determined that 2 of the fingerprints from this receipt belonged to Tim McVeigh.
To be clear, Ragnar’s books do not advocate for or instruct how to build a bomb out of a Ryder truck. The books have been widely circulated for years, and not everyone who has bought one has done what McVeigh was accused of doing. It’s one thing to read the book and follow the recipes for the small explosives contained therein. It’s quite another to extrapolate to compile large quantities of those explosive components. The next constellation of witnesses were offered to prove that McVeigh did just that – sought out and procure bomb making components.
Gregory Pfaff worked at Lock and Load distributors. They bought and sold explosive tip ammunition, tracers and incendiary devices at gun shows. This is how he knew McVeigh. McVeigh called him and asked for a detonation cord. Known as “det. cord” for short, it is a high speed fuse composed chiefly of PETN – pentaerythritol tetranitrate – used for detonating high explosives. Pfaff told him he might be able to get one, but that he couldn’t ship it within the United States. McVeigh told him he was willing to drive all the way from Arizona to New York to get it. 10 days later, McVeigh called back and asked him for the cord. When Pfaff told him he wasn’t able to get it, McVeigh abruptly hung up.
David Darlak worked at a sign shop in Buffalo, New York called NAS quick sign. Before that he worked at a place in Tonawanda, New York called Rosewood Signs on two different occasions: from 1986-1988, and 1992 to 1995. In between, he served in the United States Army. Before all that, he was high school friends with Timothy McVeigh. In 1994, McVeigh phoned him, asking if he could get racing fuel. He said no, and asked McVeigh why he needed racing fuel. McVeigh didn’t answer. 2 days later, McVeigh left a message on the answering machine: “Forget about the racing fuel.”
Gary Mussatto lived in Kansas. Over the years, he owned and mechanicked race cars. Those types of cars use a special racing fuel made up of Nitromethane. In 1994, he received a phone call from a man who identified himself as “Gary,” who asked if he had any nitromethane. He said that he did not. He told the caller that a guy named Glynn Tipton with VP racing fuels might be able to help. Mussatto also told the caller about a big National Hot Rod Association race held in Topeka at Heartland Park in October. One item sold there? Nitromethane.
In the last weekend of September, 1994, a slender man with a narrow face and jaw line, with two to three days of growth walked up to Glynn Tipton at a racetrack in Topeka, Kansas and asked about a pure form of rocket fuel called Anhydrous Hydrazine, and another more common fuel called Nitromethane. The man was in luck. Tipton did sell racing fuel, the chief component of which was Nitromethane. He told the man he would have to check on whether he could get a 55-gallon drum of the anhydrazine, however, and asked him for his number. The slender faced man said he didn’t have a phone, so Tipton gave him one of his business cards. A week later, a man called the number on the business card and asked whether he was able to get a hold of the anhydrazine they had spoken about previously. Tipton told him he could not and the conversation ended. One thing stuck out to Tipton about this conversation: in all the years he worked races and sold fuel like he did that day in Topeka, that was the only time a customer asked about both Anhydrazine and Nitromethane. Prosecutors asked him what would happen if those two fuels were mixed together? Tipton replied, “You would create a bomb.” Tipton told jurors he was “90% sure” the slender faced man inquiring about both fuels was Timothy McVeigh.
Timothy Chambers works at VP Racing Fuels, the same company as Glynn Tipton. He drives a fuel truck and sells fuel, including Nitromethane, at races. On October 21st, 1994, he was working at the Chief Auto Parts National in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma when he was approached by a man wanting to buy, “3 drums of nitromethane.” They reached a deal for the sale, and the man came back about 45 minutes later driving a faded pick-up truck with a camper on the back. As they loaded the 3 drums into the truck, Chambers asked him why he needed all that fuel. The man explained that his friends came down every year, and they “raced their Harley’s.” The man took the fuel and a receipt and was on his way. Two things stuck out to Chambers. The sale was very large – $2,775 – and cash transactions that big are very rare. The other thing? Harley riders never buy that much Nitromethane. It would burn too hot and damage the engine. They buy it in much smaller quantities and dilute it. He described the man as 5 feet 11, with sandy blond hair, eyes too close together and a longer than normal nose. Was this Timothy McVeigh? Chambers couldn’t say. In March of 1997, he was shown a photo lineup containing McVeigh’s picture, but Chambers was unable to make positive identification.
Robert Nattier was the president and general manager of Mid Kansas Co-Op at Moundridge, Kansas. They sell farm-supply items, including fertilizers made of anhydrous hydrazine and ammonium nitrate. If a sale was made, the customer at one of his 19 stores throughout the Midwest would fill out a triplicate form. The store kept the yellow copy, the customer the pink, and the white copy went to the main office in Moundridge. Kansas law does not charge tax on the sale of some of these items. If you were a customer and wanted to claim a tax exempt transaction, you would have to fill out the form. Among your identifying information, you would also swear that the purpose of your purchase was agricultural. In 1994, Mr. Nattier’s company sold only one type of ammonium nitrate prills: 34-0-0. The 34 indicates the amount of nitrogen, the first zero is phosphate, the second potash. This is low density ammonium nitrate fertilizer. On September 30, 1994, the employees from his branch just off I-35 in McPherson, Kansas made a sale of a large quantity of ammonium nitrate to a man named “Mike Havens.” 40 Fifty Pound bags to be exact, a full pallet, for $228.74. On October 18th, 1994, a “Mike Havens” made another purchase of the same type and amount, 2000 lbs of 34-0-0 Ammonium Nitrate. Although both could have been tax exempt, Havens did not fill out the request. These two transactions were indeed peculiar for other reasons besides declining the request for the exemption. Louis Michalko is a special agent for the FBI with a background in accounting. He reviewed all of the receipts that might have shown Ammonium Nitrate in the years and months leading up to the bombing on April 19, 1995. 520 tickets reflected ammonium nitrate sales. Of all the purchasers of ammonium nitrate at all the different branches, only Mr. Havens purchased the ammonium nitrate in cash. 80% of all transactions at the McPherson branch were made by people buying either 1 or 2 bags. Only three customers purchased 1000 pounds or more from the McPherson location: Havens was one, The McPherson Golf Club and a man named James Wiens the other. But Havens bought twice as much as they did. There were, in fact, only 3 sales of the fertilizer of 2000 pounds or more: 2 to Havens, the other to the Golf Club.
A Burglary at the Quarry
If you believe Lori Fortier’s account of the day Tim McVeigh used soup cans to show her the design of his bomb, he also described how he was going to use “sausage things that he and Terry Nichols had stolen from a Quarry somewhere in Kansas.” While some investigators were fanning across the country trying to connect Tim McVeigh and his accomplices to some of the chemical components of the bomb, others looked into verifying this burglary actually happened, and if so, tying it to McVeigh.
“Bud” Radtke is a driller blaster who works for Martin Marietta Rock Company a mile and half north of Marion, Kansas. He loads the holes he drills into the rock in order to blow them down into smaller chunks to be taken to the plant and broken down again and shipped off for use on roads and highways. Dynamite had fallen out of favor in his practice. Instead, he used an emulsion mix with a blasting cap. He’d put the mix into the holes, put the blasting cap into it, cover it up with more rock, do that several times, then wire them all together and use a special machine for touching it off. The blasting caps look like “a big stick of sausage in a white plastic wrap,” 16 inches long, 2 inches in diameter. These “sausages” are boosters needed to turn a small explosion into a much bigger one. They buy in bulk, and store them in magazines onsite. The magazines are about 4-5 feet square, and are secured by two padlocks on the door. At the beginning of October, 1994, he went to retrieve some of the blasting caps. He felt for the padlocks, but they were gone. He opened up the small storage sheds, and found that 6 or 7 cases of 250 blasting caps were missing. In another type of shed, they stored ANFO – Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil Mixtures. He went back and checked those padlocks. They had been “drilled out and unlocked.” All told, 400 pounds of TOVEX sausages were taken.
Lloyd Davies works at a funeral home, a job he’d only had by the time of trial for about 4 months. Before that, he was the sheriff of Marion County, Kansas. And back on October 3, 1994, he investigated the burglary at the Quarry. Under the locks, he found metal shavings and lock tumblers indicating to him that whoever broke in did so by drilling the locks. 2 days later, he went back to the quarry after learning the second storage shed was also burglarized. He collected the padlock with the hole drilled through that keyhole, and placed them both in the sheriff lock box.
Although the evidence was collected, no viable suspects were developed. The burglary case went cold.
Lori Fortier also told jurors that McVeigh asked her and Michael for help in renting Storage Sheds. After all, if she was truthful in her testimony that McVeigh, Nichols and her husband Michael were collecting various components for the bomb in the months leading up to the bombing, they’d need somewhere to keep them.
Helen Mitchell is the daughter of a Lutheran Minister, mother of 5, and is a bookkeeper with the Clark Lumber Company. In addition to lumber, they also have storage units for rent. They are located in Herington, Kansas just outside of Junction City, and north of Marion. On September 22, 1994, she rented a storage unit to a man named Shawn Rivers. For the rental agreement, he gave the address Route 3, Box 83 in Marion, Kansas. She took 80$ cash from him, enough for 4 Month’s rent. About a month later, she received another payment for the same unit for 4 additional months. Her customer, Mr. Rivers, had that unit paid up through May 22, 1995. She did not identify McVeigh, Nichols, or Fortier as “Shawn Rivers.” But she did keep the receipts.
Boots U-Store-It is attached to a gas station and convenience store called the Conoco Deli in Council Grove Kansas. Sharri Furman does the books and sets up rental accounts for the storage units with customers. On October 17, 1994, a customer named Joe Kyle rented Shed Number 40. As required by their rental agreement, a monthly payment was made in person. Sometime in November, a man called in giving the name of “Ted Parker,” who said that he needed to rent a storage unit. The man said he was coming in from out of town, and needed to meet that day. She didn’t need to give the man directions because Mr. Parker, as he wished to be called, knew how to get there. They met, and filled out a lease agreement for unit 37. She collected the man’s name and number. The man signed the agreement with the name “Ted Parker.” The address: 3616 North Van Dyke, Decker Michigan. Phone Number: 517-872-4108. Her records reflected unit 40 was rented up through April 1st 1995, unit 37 was rented up through May 1st. As Mrs. Furman watched the news of the bombing a few months after the rental transactions, she saw Ted Parker on TV. It was Terry Nichols.
Jodi Carleson worked for Lincoln Properties in Kingman, Arizona. Unlike the other storage shed businesses we’ve heard about, she requires a driver’s license before she will agree to the rental. On 10/4/1994, she rented a storage unit to a, “Tim McVeigh.” She verified his identity that day and in court by the driver’s license he presented. The term of the agreement was from that day in October until February 5th, 1995.
It had been nearly a week since Lori Fortier testified. The preceding constellation of witnesses gave jurors all you’ve just heard. The prosecutors established that the events she described, the storage sheds, and acquiring the components had actually happened. But the puzzle was far from complete. Through the in-court identification by Jodi Carleson of McVeigh, and Sharri Furman’s identification of Terry Nichols, jurors might have believed that the two men rented storage units, but for what purpose? Lori Fortier said they were looking to rent storage facilities to store the components, but there was no evidence as of yet that they actually did so. Likewise, there was proof that the Martin Marietta Rock Company was burglarized, but no proof whatsoever that McVeigh was responsible. Finally, there was some evidence that someone bought a peculiarly large amount of Ammonium Nitrate and Nitromethane, but there was still no proof that it was McVeigh. Who was Ted Parker, Shawn Rivers, Joe Kyle, or Mike Havens? Aliases? More conspirators? Was the Tim McVeigh that ordered those books from the Paladin Press in 1992 the same Tim McVeigh sitting in the defendant’s chair by way of the Noble County Jail? It was time to start putting the pieces together.
Linchpins in Herrington
Recall that the address given by the “Tim McVeigh” who rented room number 25 at The Dreamland Motel was 3616 N. Van Dyke in Decker, Michigan. That is the home of James and Terry Nichols. While the investigation that led investigators to finding McVeigh at the Noble County Courthouse was underway, other investigators chased down leads related to Terry Nichols. They learned he joined the United States Army, where he befriended Timothy McVeigh. They also learned he lived in Herington, Kansas. Investigators eventually obtained and executed search warrants for Nichols’ house. It proved to be a treasure trove of evidence.
One agent opened a drawer by the sink in the kitchen. She saw some dishtowels, and pulled the drawer out further. She found a bag of coins. In the bag, she found a square piece of pink paper wrapped around some of the gold coins. The pink slip is a receipt from Mid-Kansas Cooperative Association dated 9/30/1994 for 40 fifty pound bags of Ammonium Nitrate sold by Mr. Nattier. This is the pink customer copy, the one with the name Mike Havens. Fingerprint examiner Louis Hupp – the one you may recall from the beginning of the trial who isolated McVeigh’s prints on the documents in his car – put a series of chemicals on the receipt with the hopes of obtaining and lifting a usable fingerprint. It worked. One of the prints belonged to Timothy McVeigh.
One limitation of fingerprint evidence is the fact that it is normally impossible to tell when that print was left on an object. This receipt was dated September 30, 1994, and recovered in April of 1995. The print could have been left at any time during that period. But the strength of a piece of evidence like this can be increased greatly if other circumstances shed light on when it might have been left. Agents discovered one such piece: the storage lease agreement dated 9/22/1994 bearing the name of “Shawn Rivers” and address of Route 3, Box 83, Marion Kansas. This is the receipt made by Helen Mitchell, the daughter of the Lutheran Minister. Fingerprint expert Hupp got 10 total usable prints, 8 of which belong to McVeigh. Now two separately created pieces of evidence exist with McVeigh’s prints. He must have left them on the receipts prior to the execution of the search warrant and prior to his incarceration. And while it is true the prints only prove he came into contact with the receipts, a conclusion could be drawn that he filled them out, too. Either way, the prints prove he at least knew about the sheds if he in fact didn’t rent them, and they connected him to Terry Nichols – and other evidence in his house – in the months leading up to the bombing.
In cases involving co-defendants, investigators will compare all of the recovered prints to all suspects, not just the one on trial. Such was the case here for Terry Nichols. One by one, key pieces of evidence were discussed with jurors. Both fingerprints on the receipt from Shed Number 37 rented to Ted Parker at Boots U-Store-It matched Terry Nichols.
Besides fingerprint-yielding evidence, investigators recovered other evidence prosecutors hoped to further connect McVeigh and his accomplices with the crime. Agent Nellis found a picture of McVeigh and Nichols in a photo album. Agent Jasnowski found four 55 gallon white plastic barrels. She also found a notebook containing a page with the words “Joe Kyle #40, COUN/GRO/KAN10-17 over 94 +12/17 over the number 94 + 37.” In addition, “Ted Parker 11/17/94” along with “+ 1/31/95” was written. Both appeared to be reminder notes about the length of the rental agreements for storage sheds. Finally, Agent Tucker found a box with 6 bottles containing a white substance. The bottles had various labels: “Ammonium Nitrate,” “Fertilizer,” and “prills.” These were collected and stored for future analysis.
Agent Brown collected a Makita Cordless Drill in a blue box, and drill bits from a yellow box. You will recall that the locks guarding the sausage type-explosives apparently damaged by a drill were recovered by Sheriff Davies in Marion County, Kansas. That case – the Quarry Burglary – might just be solved after all. James Cadigan works in the Firearms and Tool Mark Unit at the FBI Laboratory, a job he’d been doing for 20 years. Tool Mark Comparison experts like him compare physical marks left on evidence recovered from a crime scene with tools or instruments recovered elsewhere in order to determine whether the suspected tool made the mark. For example, in a burglary in which a crowbar is used to pry open a window, a tool mark expert would analyze the mark on the windowsill and compare it with marks made by a crowbar to determine whether or not the mark left on the window sill during the burglary could have been made by that crowbar. The analyst begins by studying the class characteristics, the measurements and components that all instruments of that type share. A crowbar, for example, may be 1 1/2 inches in width. That is a characteristic of all crowbars in that class. The next step would be to identify and analyze gross imperfections in a specific instrument like chips, cracks, or other unique indentations. The instrument is thus compared to a mark, and the expert forms their opinion about whether the instrument did make, did not make or could not be eliminated from making, the mark.
His job in this case was to compare the padlock recovered from the Quarry by Sheriff Davies with a drill bit recovered from Terry Nichols house. He first determined that the hole in the padlock was created by a ¼ inch bit. This is a class characteristic meaning he could eliminate all recovered bits that were not ¼ inch. In this case, that left only two ¼ inch drill bit candidates. He put those two candidates in the recovered drill and drilled holes in sample pieces of lead. He then compared the drill marks from the lead to the drill marks from the padlock under a comparison microscope – a microscope with 2 different optical bridges – and compared them side by side. His conclusion based on the microscopically observed lines, striations, and scratches? One of the ¼ inch drill bits recovered from Terry Nichols basement is the drill bit used to drill a hole in the padlock recovered from the shed used to store Ammonium Nitrate mixture at Quarry.
Jurors learned of one final connection between the Quarry Burglary and evidence recovered from Terry Nichols’ house. Agent Tongate found 5 rolls of 60-foot Primadet non-electric blasting caps. The caps were the same type taken from the Quarry, and were encased in the same orange tubing as those taken from the Quarry.
Send No More Letters After April 1st
The next witness lived with her father in Lockport, New York. It’s the town in which she grew up. She tended bar on the weekends and studied elementary education at Buffalo State College. Her name is Jennifer, and she has a sister named Patty. And she was being called to testify that the handwriting on certain documents related to the bombing belonged to her brother, Timothy McVeigh. Prosecutors offered them to show planning, design and motive. We’ll start with Paulsen’s Military Supply card – the one found by Trooper Hanger in his squad car after he arrested and transported McVeigh, 77 miles outside of OKC the morning of the bombing. The handwriting she said belonged to McVeigh? “TNT, 5/Stick, needs more….Call after 1st of May, see if I can get some more.” She also identified the handwriting on the sign recovered from the car in which McVeigh was driving when he pulled over that read, “Not abandoned….Please do not tow. Will move by April 23 (needs battery cable).” Another document recovered in McVeigh’s car read: “When the Government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the Government, there is tyranny.” Jennifer told jurors McVeigh wrote the note underneath the quote from the Turner Diaries: “Maybe now there will be liberty.” She also identified her brother’s writing on the order form for Ragnar’s recipe for homemade C-4.
After authenticating the handwriting on some of these key documents, prosecutors went through a set of letters McVeigh wrote to her in the months and days leading up to the bombing. The letters revealed McVeigh’s growing preoccupation and increasing paranoia about gun control efforts, Ruby Ridge, Waco, and his view of our Constitution. He continued to discuss The Turner Diaries. In one letter, he mentioned he had a “network of friends” that she could trust: Michael, Terri and Lori.
In November of 1994, McVeigh came home to New York. His appearance had changed – he was dressed up like a biker. He told his sister it was one of his disguises and that he uses fake names like Tim Tuttle. He showed her a video called Day 51, depicting the government raid of the Branch Davidian Compound near Waco. He expressed great anger that the government murdered the people there, “basically gassing them.” He held the ATF, FBI responsible and felt that someone should be held accountable.
On this same trip, McVeigh also used her “Brother Word Processor” and typed a letter to the American Legion. For the younger folks, a word processor is similar to a mechanical typewriter, except that the documents could be edited before being printed, and were stored on disks. One letter read in part: “We members of the Citizen’s militias do not bear our arms to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow those who PERVERT the constitution, if and when they once again draw first blood – The ATF are a fascist federal group infamous for depriving Americans of their liberties as well as other Constitutionally-guaranteed inalienable rights, such as one’s right to self-defense. Citizen’s militias will hopefully ensure that violations of the Constitution by these power hungry storm troopers of the federal government will not succeed again. After all, who else would come to the rescue of those innocent women and children at Waco? One last question that every American should ask themselves: Did not the British also keep track of the locations of munitions stored by the colonists, just as the ATF admitted doing? Why? Does anyone even study history anymore?” Another letter on the word processor: “ATF, all you tyrannical motherfuckers will swing in the wind one day, for your treasonous actions against the Constitution and the United States. Remember the Nuremberg War Trials. But…But…But…I was only following orders! Die you spineless, cowardice bastards.”
She next told jurors about a conversation she had with her brother while they were driving in town. He told her that he almost got in an accident because he was in a truck going downhill and almost couldn’t stop in time. The reason? The truck was loaded with 2,000 pounds of explosives. She didn’t ask him why he was carrying those explosives because, she told jurors, “I don’t think I wanted to know.” McVeigh left home in December of 1994.
A few weeks later, she received a package from him containing a bunch of political materials. The note accompanying those materials said: “Jennifer, go ahead and read all the paperwork that is in the priority envelope on top. It’s not priority reading so go through it whenever you have time. Save it along with everything else in this box. In case of ‘alert’ call Mike Fortier at 602-757-4018 or 692-9445…If you must call him…Jenny, this is serious, no being lazy, use a pay phone and take a roll of quarters with you. They will without a doubt be watching you and tapping the phone. NOTE: Read back cover of Turner Diaries before you begin.” In another letter he said, “I Won’t be back for … ever. Keep an eye out for P. I. (private investigators) they will more likely be looking for me then cops – and remember – they could be anybody, and they don’t follow the rules. Be especially careful at bars. Tell dad hi. Seeya, Tim.”
She received another letter from him in early 1995 in which he said that something “big” was going to happen in the “month of the bull.” According to an astrology book she had, the “month of the bull” was April. He also told her in that letter that she should stay on her spring break vacation longer – if she did, that would cover the date of April 20th, 1995. He concluded by telling her to burn the letter after she received it. She did. On March 25, 1995 she received a very ominous letter that read in part: “Did dad get VHS tapes and did you get vampire killer 2000? Please respond ASAP…Send no more letters after the first of April and then, even if it’s an emergency, watch what you say because I may not get it in time and the G-men might get it out of my box incriminating you. Enjoy your vacation. T.”
The last note she received was a very short one, and contained 3-4 clippings from the Turner Diaries. She kept it and prepared to leave town for vacation in Pensacola Florida. Before she left on vacation, she separated all of the things that belonged to her brother into two boxes – one for memorabilia and the other she described as political literature. In the memorabilia box, she put his Army stuff, yearbooks, and other similar personal items. In the second box, she put his political writings including John Locke’s second treatise, an article named “The American Response to Tyranny,” and “Whatever happened to Liberty Day?” along with some VHS tapes of his. She put the memorabilia box in her closet. She gave the second box with the political writings to her good friend Rose for safekeeping while she went on vacation. Why? “Because from what had been indicated, I thought something might happen while I was on vacation.”
She was in Florida the day of the bombing. She heard about it while in the car with her friend. She immediately burned the last letter her brother sent her, as well as the accompanying Turner Diary Excerpts. It wasn’t long before the FBI found her. Although she initially lied to them and denied knowing things that she really did know, she relented, eventually revealing the conversation she had with her brother about the explosives, as well as the note and the burned clippings.
The problem for her is that lying to investigators and destroying evidence are crimes that could land her in prison. Even though she did not want to testify against her brother, she was left with no choice: just like with Lori Fortier, prosecutors gave her immunity from prosecution.
McVeigh’s attorney, Robert Nigh, began his cross examination by seizing the opportunity to humanize his client through Jennifer. It was obvious she loved her brother still, and didn’t want to hurt him. Nigh focused the beginning of his cross on McVeigh’s impressive military service. McVeigh received the Army Commendation Medal, one that he received for, “Meritorious achievement, with valor, during Operation Desert Storm while assigned as an infantryman to team Alpha Task Force 2-16 on the 25th of February, 1991 in Southern Iraq. He inspired all members of his squad and platoon by destroying an enemy machine-gun placement, killing two Iraqi soldiers and forcing the surrender of 30 other enemy soldiers in dug-in positions.” He also received the Bronze Star because, “Sgt. McVeigh’s flawless devotion to duty truly exemplifies the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon him.”
Next, Nigh pointed out that McVeigh didn’t ask her to give those political writings to her friend. She did that on her own. She didn’t see him write the letter to the ATF, and he never talked about it. And what about the Turner Diaries? In all the times he mentioned the book to her, he never mentioned building a truck bomb, or Ammonium Nitrate, Nitromethane or Anhydrous Hydrazine.
From the beginning of the trial, the defense’s theme was that the FBI developed tunnel vision on McVeigh at great expense to fairness and objectivity. In this vein, Mr. Nigh concluded his cross examination by having Jennifer relay her experience at the FBI in the days immediately following the bombing. She testified that she was interrogated at the FBI for 8 or 9 hours a day, and didn’t have a lawyer. In the offices, there were huge posters of her and her brother on the wall. Underneath both a number of criminal charges were listed. They showed her the text of some criminal statutes as well: “Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures is punishable as a principal.” Underneath that, one of the agents wrote, “i.e., Death.” They also read her the statute on Treason, telling her she could be charged with that, too. The penalty the agents underlined in the book for her? Death.
–End of Episode 4–