Nichols defense presents John Doe No. 2 evidence

Witnesses say they may have seen McVeigh with mysterious suspect

McALESTER, Okla. – Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and a shorter, stocky man with bushy dark hair walked into a Kansas hair salon together one day before the 1995 bombing, two hair stylists testified at bombing conspirator Terry Nichols‘ murder trial Monday.

Terry Nichols on Trial

The crime: A massive fertilizer and fuel bomb inside a rental truck was detonated April 19, 1995, outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring more than 500.

The motive: The bombing, authorities said, was carried out by anti-government zealots to avenge what they regarded as federal agents’ mishandling of the 1993 standoff with Branch Davidians near Waco and the 1992 siege of a white separatist compound near Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

The conspirators:

Timothy McVeigh — convicted in federal court of conspiracy, murder and using a weapon of mass destruction. He was executed June 11, 2001.

Terry Nichols — convicted in federal court of helping Mr. McVeigh burglarize a quarry for bomb components, robbing a gun dealer to help finance the plot and assisting Mr. McVeigh in mixing the bomb. He was acquitted of murdering the eight federal law officers killed in the blast. He was sentenced to life in federal prison.

Michael Fortier — pleaded guilty in federal court to knowing of the plot and failing to alert authorities, selling stolen guns and lying to the FBI. He is serving a 12-year sentence. He was a star prosecution witness in the federal trials of Mr. McVeigh and Mr. Nichols and is to testify in Mr. Nichols’ state trial.
Source: Dallas Morning News

The stylists, Kathy Henderson and Tonia Rumbaugh, said they later recognized both men from FBI sketches of two bombing suspects. One sketch closely resembled Mr. McVeigh and the second, known as John Doe No. 2, has never been identified.

“The sketches that we saw looked almost exactly like the men who came in,” Ms. Henderson said.

The women, who worked at a salon in Junction City, Kan., are among a growing list of defense witnesses who have recalled encounters with Mr. McVeigh and John Doe No. 2 in the days and weeks before the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people.

Their testimony is part of a defense strategy to suggest that the plot to bomb the Oklahoma City federal building was wider than alleged by prosecutors and that Mr. McVeigh received substantial help from other co-conspirators.

Ms. Rumbaugh said John Doe No. 2 had a dark complexion. She said he had thick, dark hair that was tinged with gray.

He asked for a haircut, but neither stylist had any open appointments. Ms. Rumbaugh said Mr. McVeigh stood at the doorway.

When they left, Ms. Henderson said, the men walked across a parking lot and did not appear to leave in a vehicle.

Nancy Kindle, a former waitress at a Denny’s restaurant in Junction City, testified that she saw Mr. McVeigh with two other men, including a shorter man with scraggly brown hair, three or four days before the bombing.

Ms. Kindle said she remembered Mr. McVeigh because he spelled his name for her while the group waited in line for a table.

She said the second man was about 5-foot-7, but she did not remember how the third man looked.

Russell Johnson and his son, Curtis Johnson, said two men, including one who resembled Mr. McVeigh, came into their lawn and garden store in Junction City on April 17, 1995, two days before the bombing,

Russell Johnson said the men were looking for a large quantity of nitrogen-based fertilizer. He said a Ryder truck was parked outside.

Authorities said the homemade bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building used ammonium nitrate fertilizer. It was delivered in a Ryder truck.

The Johnsons said the men left when they learned the store did not have enough fertilizer to meet their needs.

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Associated Press, USA
May 10, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday May 12, 2004.
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