April 9, 1996 in Nation/World

Mcveigh ‘Played’ With Explosives Oklahoma Suspect Experimented With Small Bombs, James Nichols Says

Associated Press
 

Although Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh says he “never touched a bomb,” the brother of his co-defendant said he frequently saw him building and experimenting with explosives.

James Nichols, the brother of Terry Nichols, told CBS News that his brother and McVeigh made small explosives, most no bigger than firecrackers, in a large tool shed on his Michigan farm.

“Some of them were made in plastic bottles, plastic pop bottles, you know, pint-sized ones,” he said. “Just kids play. That’s all it was. Purely, simply kids play.”

James Nichols said he laughed at them and didn’t think it was unusual.

“You talk to the normal Americans out here in the country, they all do it. They all do it,” he told CBS News.

McVeigh and Terry Nichols face the death penalty if convicted on murder and conspiracy charges stemming from the federal building bombing, which killed 168 people and injured more than 500. Their first court hearing in Denver is scheduled for Tuesday.

James Nichols spent five weeks in custody last year, first as a material witness in the bombing and then on unrelated explosives charges. The charges were later dropped. He says he and his brother had nothing to do with the bombing.

In Time magazine this week, McVeigh said he didn’t have any experience with bombs. “I’ve never had my hand on one. I used to watch other people do it. I won’t go into that,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times reported last year that Terry Nichols told federal authorities he and McVeigh learned how to make bombs while they were selling military surplus items at gun shows around the country.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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