An attorney for Terry Nichols argued Wednesday before a federal panel that the government should not seek the death penalty, insisting that his client wasn’t guilty in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for Timothy McVeigh, the other man charged in the April 19 bombing, boycotted the closed-door hearing before the Capital Case Review Committee, which makes federal death penalty recommendations.
Attorney Stephen Jones boycotted the hearing. He called the review process a charade because, he said, Attorney General Janet Reno has already stated on national television that she believes those responsible for the bombing should be put to death.
“The principal overriding reason (for ignoring the hearing) is that it’s a charade and a sham,” Jones said. “They are not going to overrule her.”
Michael Tigar, the lead attorney for Nichols, said he took the opportunity to present Nichols’ case, but remained skeptical of the process.
“It’s a little difficult to see how Justice Department employees could be neutral observers,” said Tigar, who accused the government of being too aggressive in the case. “Justice by ambush is not justice.”
The panel reviews all government prosecutors’ requests for seeking the death penalty and forwards recommendations to the attorney general, who has final say.
Tigar’s argument against death was that Nichols was innocent.
“We don’t see and have not yet seen evidence that shows that Terry Lynn Nichols was culpably involved in the bombing on April 19, 1995,” Tigar said he told the committee. “This is an outrage.”