Sources: FBI probe of McVeigh leads to race track
April 11, 1997
Web posted at: 10:50 p.m. EST
DENVER (CNN) -- The second week of jury selection in the
trial of Timothy McVeigh ended Friday, and sources said the
FBI is trying to find out where he may have bought racing
fuel allegedly used in the Oklahoma City blast.
Agents checked hotels near a drag race track in Texas where
agents believe McVeigh bought three 55-gallon drums of
volatile racing fuel six months before the Oklahoma City
bombing, sources told CNN Friday.
The sources also said FBI agents are seeking videotapes shot
during a hot rod race in late October 1994 as evidence that
McVeigh and possibly his ex-Army buddy and alleged
co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, were present.
McVeigh and Nichols are charged with murder and conspiracy in
the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal
building that killed 168 people. Nichols will be tried later,
and both men face the death penalty if convicted.
The FBI believes the bomb used in the blast was made of
ammonium nitrate fertilizer and diesel or racing fuel, or a
combination of the two, CNN has learned.
Two FBI agents visited the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas,
within the past month -- March 18 or 19. They asked whether
McVeigh purchased nitromethane fuel during the 1994 Chief
Nationals hot rod race that drew a crowd of 120,000, a
spokesman for the facility told CNN Friday.
The fuel is manufactured and sold by VP Racing Fuels of San
Antonio, which was the only fuel vendor in attendance at the
event, the spokesman said.
Playboy free-lancer subpoenaed
The FBI visit followed publication of an article in Playboy
magazine reporting that McVeigh asked at the track about
buying racing fuel.
Ben Fenwick, the free-lance writer who wrote the article
describing how McVeigh allegedly planned the bombing, was
served with a subpoena Friday demanding that he turn over the
documents he used to write his article.
It was one of three articles published before the start
of McVeigh's trial, in which McVeigh was quoted as admitting
he planted the bomb. Playboy said its article corroborated an earlier report in the Dallas Morning News. McVeigh's chief attorney, Stephen Jones, has denied that McVeigh confessed and has condemned the articles.
Judge annoyed during questioning
Jury questioning plodded along Friday, proceeding to the 61st
prospective juror, an environmental engineer who has had
training in the chemical testing and clean-up of explosives.
In federal death penalty cases, potential jurors who are
unalterably opposed to capital punishment cannot be seated.
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch said the final 64
prospective jurors must be "death penalty qualified."
Sources said the approved jury pool is slightly more than
half of the total of 64 needed from which to pick 12 jurors
and six alternates.
As he left the courthouse, defense attorney Stephen Jones
wouldn't be that specific, but told reporters, "It'll start
before the end of the month."
The judge is conducting in secret the sessions to screen out
jurors who are questioned in open court.
At one point, Matsch criticized a prospective juror for
giving vague answers on the jury questionnaire and for being
flippant in her responses to questions she was asked in
The juror gave conflicting answers to many of the questions,
including those about her feelings on the death penalty. She
told the judge she wants to be a panelist for the trial, and
one of her children wanted her to be a juror so she could be
Following lunch, the same woman, whose ex-husband and father
were police officers, said she thought federal agents should
have brought the 1993 Waco standoff to an end earlier -- and
she said she thought O.J. Simpson was guilty of murder and
his trial lasted too long.
She also said she was aware of another published report of
McVeigh confessing to the bombing -- in the Dallas Morning
News -- but did not believe the story was credible.
T R A N S C R I P T S /
O V E R V I E W /
T H E P L A Y E R S
T H E B O M B I N G /
C N N S T O R I E S
/ L I N K S
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