Tears as Nichols' ex-wife testifies
November 19, 1997
Web posted at: 10:56 p.m. EST (0356 GMT)
From Correspondent Tony Clark
DENVER (CNN) -- Oklahoma City bombing defendant Terry Nichols
cried in court Wednesday as his ex-wife testified against
him, tying him to Timothy McVeigh and the armed robbery of an
Arkansas gun dealer.
Though Lana Padilla has said publicly that she believes
Nichols is not guilty of the murder and conspiracy charges
he's facing, she has been one of the strongest witnesses
against him in his federal trial.
Nichols is on trial for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people and
injured hundreds of others. McVeigh has been convicted for
his role in the bombing and sentenced to death.
On the witness stand, Padilla cried as she described her
divorce from Nichols and talked about their son, Joshua, 15.
She frequently looked across the courtroom at Nichols.
When she read a letter from Nichols in which he wrote, "I
have the most trust in you," Nichols and some jurors started
crying. Defense attorney Michael Tigar attempted to console
Nichols with a pat on the shoulder.
She said when Nichols left on a trip to the Philippines in
late 1994 to see his second wife, Marife, he gave Padilla a
package with instructions not to open it unless he didn't
return. She said she opened it anyway and found a letter from
Nichols to McVeigh.
Nichols advised McVeigh that if he received the letter, that
meant Nichols was dead. He instructed McVeigh to clean out
some storage lockers.
"You're on your own," Nichols wrote. "Go for it."
Another letter told Padilla of a secret compartment in her
home where $20,000 was hidden, and of a storage locker where
she later found gold, silver and jade, as well as a black ski
mask, a wig, pantyhose and makeup.
Prosecutors have been trying to tie Nichols to the robbery of
Arkansas gun dealer Roger Moore, the proceeds of which the
prosecution maintains were used to finance the Oklahoma City
Moore testified Tuesday that he had been robbed by a man
wearing a ski mask. He identified items found in Nichols'
house after the bombing as being among the things taken in
Under questioning from the defense, Padilla characterized
Nichols as a good father -- as a frugal man who was
interested in stocks, gold and silver. She also described him
as a practical joker and a reasonable person.