Nichols Defense To Cost Oklahomans Millions

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Oklahoma taxpayers likely will pay millions of dollars for the defense of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols on state charges. Nichols’s attorneys have asked for more than 1 1/2 years to prepare their defense against murder charges that could get him the death penalty.

The judge has not set a trial date. The defense has asked that proceedings not begin until January 2005, the Associated Press reports.

Prosecutors said they will be ready for trial by November or December; they plan to call 217 witnesses. Nichols, 48, is already serving life in a federal prison for the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people and injured hundreds of others.

Money for Nichols’ state defense comes from a court fund of fines, fees and forfeitures taken in by courts statewide. But with the Nichols defense costs – about $2.5 million already – rapidly depleting that fund, the state likely will end up footing much of the bill.

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