Facebook Twitter

Nichols to waive appeals, accept term

SHARE Nichols to waive appeals, accept term

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols is willing to end his appeals and accept a federal life sentence to avoid a state trial, his attorney said.

Defense attorney Brian Hermanson made the announcement through a letter to the editor faxed to the Tulsa World on Tuesday. Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane planned to announce Wednesday whether he will continue to pursue state charges against Nichols.

If convicted in a state trial, Nichols might face the death penalty.

Richard Wintory, a senior assistant district attorney, said the letter violated a court-imposed gag order that "explicitly precludes statements regarding negotiations between the parties."

In the letter to the editor, Hermanson wrote that Nichols is "willing to give up his pending federal appeals and to accept the life sentence that was imposed in federal court."

"Taking such a step ensures that he will spend the rest of his life in prison," Hermanson wrote. "It would enable Mr. Lane to drop the state prosecution, thereby sparing Oklahoma the trauma and expense of another trial."

Hermanson also wrote that Nichols, who is being held in Oklahoma City, "has been and is willing to waive the anti-shuttling provision of the Interstate Act on Detainers."

That provision would prevent the state from prosecuting Nichols if he is sent to serve his sentence in Colorado, where he was convicted in federal court. By giving up that protection, Hermanson wrote, the state would retain the power to refile charges against Nichols in the future, regardless of whether his federal sentence is upheld.

Nichols was convicted of conspiracy and manslaughter charges and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The bombing left 168 dead.

In March 1999, after Nichols' federal trial, then-Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy filed 160 first-degree murder counts against Nichols and announced he was seeking the death penalty.