Woman says Nichols' eyes are 'hiding something'
October 2, 1997
Web posted at: 5:40 p.m. EDT (2140 GMT)
DENVER (CNN) -- A potential juror in the Oklahoma City
bombing trial of Terry Nichols was excused Thursday after she
said she looked into the defendant's eyes and knew he was
The woman was the 18th candidate questioned in the first week
of the trial.
"(Nichols) has a look in his eye that he is hiding
something," the woman said. "I wouldn't want to be in a dark
alley -- or a light alley -- with him."
She said she first noticed the "look" last month when
potential jurors filled out questionnaires in Nichols'
presence. Pressed by defense attorney Michael Tigar, the
woman said nothing would change her mind about the defendant.
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch dismissed the woman after
about 15 minutes of questioning. Nichols, wearing a
blue-striped shirt and blazer, showed no emotion and stared
straight ahead as he sat rigidly at the defense table.
He is charged with murder and conspiracy in the April 19,
1995, bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds.
Timothy McVeigh was convicted in June and sentenced to die
for his role in the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil.
The 19th juror questioned told Matsch he suffers from a
hearing problem and narcolepsy, a condition of frequent and
uncontrollable desire for sleep. The man said he controls the
narcolepsy with medication, but, as a side effect, he
sometimes is immobilized when he becomes excited.
Judge chastises defense attorney
Earlier Thursday, Matsch told Tigar to stop putting
prospective jurors "on the spot" in trying to learn whether
they could sentence a convicted murderer to death.
"Steering or putting somebody on the spot, both of those
things probably should be avoided in terms of the specifics
of 'what would you do,'" Matsch said.
Tigar agreed to watch the wording of his questions. The mild
rebuke came after prosecutors complained about the way the
defense attorney questioned a woman employed in the
accounting division of a federal agency.
'It's a clean slate'
The woman, the 17th potential juror to be questioned, said
she could consider life in prison as punishment for a serial
killer, depending on circumstances.
She said that while she believed McVeigh deserved the death
penalty for his conviction, she hadn't decided whether
Nichols should be sentenced to death, if found guilty.
"At this point, it's a clean slate," she said.
Lawyers on both sides will meet in open court Friday to offer
objections to specific jurors interviewed during the week.
Prosecutors say Nichols was a supporting player in the
bombing. His attorney says he backed away from McVeigh's plot
well in advance, and wasn't there when he executed it.
More than 500 potential jurors have been called for jury
selection, a process expected to take weeks.