The sketch of the second man was an innocent bystander
It was an ordinary spring day in Oklahoma City in 1995. People were going about their lawful business when suddenly a huge car bomb explosion wrecked the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and killed 168 people, including 19 children.
Witnesses spoke of two men seen fleeing the scene and the FBI issued sketches of the two suspects. Around 120 km (75 mi) away, Timothy McVeigh was stopped for speeding and arrested when the policeman saw a gun in his car’s glove box.
The police were about to release McVeigh on bail when one of them noticed that he bore a resemblance to one of the men seen running away from the Oklahoma City bombing. The FBI announced they were looking for McVeigh’s accomplice and on 21 April Terry Nichols surrendered.
He looked nothing like the sketch of the second suspect. It turned out that the sketch of the second man was an innocent bystander. The forensic examiners managed to find intact the number plate of the vehicle used in the car bomb and traced it to McVeigh. He suffered from paranoia and had served in the first Gulf War where his hatred for America developed. It was exacerbated by what he saw as the authorities’ heavyhandedness over the Waco Siege (search the article).
In September 1994 he began stockpiling the explosives he would use at Oklahoma City. He bought two tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, $2,775 worth of nitromethane car racing fuel and a 6-m (20-ft) long Ryder lorry which he drove to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, 200 NW 5th Street, Oklahoma City, USA
9.02am Wednesday 19 April 1995
McVeigh was tried and on 14 August 1996 sentenced to death. In 1997 Nichols was sentenced to prison for life after being found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy. In July 1999 McVeigh stopped all appeals against his death sentence. On 11 June 2001 McVeigh was put to death by lethal injection.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The US Government spent $82.5 million prosecuting the case against McVeigh and Nichols.