Plastics expert links bomb shards, Nichols' barrels
November 26, 1997
Web posted at: 11:00 p.m. EST (0400 GMT)
DENVER (CNN) -- Fragments of plastic recovered from a rooftop
across the street from the Oklahoma City federal building
match the plastic in barrels found at Terry Nichols' home,
according to a prosecution expert who testified Wednesday.
Tony Tikuisis, a chemist with the Nova Chemical Co., said
both the fragments and the barrels included a chemical unique
to plastics made by the Smurfit Plastic Packaging Co.
Federal prosecutors contend the fragments, blown onto the
nearby roof by the force of the explosion that devastated the
federal building, came from barrels used in a truck bomb
built by Nichols and convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh.
They are expected to call other witnesses to link four
plastic barrels found in Nichols' home to Smurfit.
A L S O :
Nichols trial transcripts
During his cross examination, defense lawyer Michael Tigar
attempted to establish that the chemical composition of the
plastic shards found near the bomb scene could match plastic
in many types of barrels.
Theodore Udell, who designs barrels for Smurfit Plastic
Packaging, told Tigar that 700,000 of the barrels in question
had been manufactured since 1992. Udell said that, at the
request of the FBI, he surveyed other barrel manufacturers to
determine whether Smurfit's plastic formula was unique and
discovered that it was.
Barrels found in Nichols' home
Tigar asked Udell if manufacturers in the highly competitive
industry were being honest with him about the uniqueness of
"I felt very strongly they were telling me the truth," Udell
said. However, he also testified that some of the plastic
pieces given him by FBI agents for comparison did not match
Nichols, 42, is charged with murder and conspiracy in
connection with the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal
Building on April 19, 1995. The blast killed 168 people.
McVeigh has been convicted on the same charges and sentenced
The trial will recess Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The prosecution is expected to call three more witnesses
Friday before resting its case.
Correspondent Tony Clark contributed to this report.