More Time For Nichols

terry nichols 2000 mug shot
A state court hearing for Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed until May 30, a court clerk said. No reason was given for the postponement.

State prosecutors were to report to District Judge Ray Dean Linder about any progress they have made in obtaining newly discovered FBI files about the case.

A preliminary hearing for Nichols had been set to begin Monday, but Linder postponed that to allow time for the files to be obtained. No new date was set for the preliminary hearing.

Linder said the documents are needed by prosecutors and defense attorneys in the state's case against Nichols, who is charged with 160 counts of first-degree murder for the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and injured more than 500.

Criminal court procedures require that prosecutors disclose to defense attorneys any materials they plan to use at a preliminary hearing within five days before the start of the hearing, Linder said.

State prosecutors have not been able to comply because they have not received the materials.

Linder has indicated he may issue subpoenas to FBI personnel during Wednesday's hearing if the documents are not turned over.

During a telephone conference with Linder last week, Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Sandra Howell-Elliott claimed that the FBI has stonewalled her request for the documents.

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"We have tried really hard not to air with the court or with the public that we've had difficulties with the federal government from the beginning, but we have," Howell-Elliott said. "It has not been a cooperative effort."

A federal jury convicted Nichols, 46, on federal involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy charges and he was sentenced to life in prison.

State prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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