Terry Nichols reportedly told a jail guard that he may have accidentally helped his friend Timothy McVeigh plot the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.
“We were good friends for five years,” Nichols is quoted as saying in FBI reports obtained by the Los Angeles Times this week. “But it looks like … maybe he did it … And I think I may have accidentally helped him in doing it,” he confided, on the verge of tears, to a guard in a Wichita, Kan., jail.
“In my eyes, I did not do anything wrong,” Nichols told investigators. “But I can see how lawyers turn things around. … I did not know anything.”
His lawyer, Michael Tigar, declined to discuss specifics, but said he would not characterize Nichols’ statements as either implicating McVeigh or suggesting that Nichols shared guilt, the newspaper reported Friday.
Nichols, 40, and McVeigh, 27, have been indicted on federal murder and conspiracy charges in the April 19 bombing that killed 169 people. The indictment alleges that both men plotted the attack, but accuses only McVeigh of driving the truck bomb from Kansas to Oklahoma City and setting off the explosion. They could get the death penalty if convicted.
Nichols’ lawyers say he was too busy in the days before the attack to have even helped build the 4,800-pound bomb.
After turning himself in two days after the blast, Nichols, of Herington, Kan., insisted that he knew nothing of a plot to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
He also denied that his friend McVeigh was capable of doing it, according to the interrogation reports obtained by the Times.
But eventually, he conceded that McVeigh might be responsible, then confided his fears to the guard two weeks after his arrest.
In one interrogation, Nichols said he and McVeigh learned how to make bombs while they were selling military surplus items at gun shows around the country in 1994 and 1995.