WASHINGTON - After a decade of silence, Terry L. Nichols, who was convicted of conspiracy in the Oklahoma City bombing, has accused a third man of being an accomplice who provided some of the explosives used to kill 168 people at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Nichols, in a letter written from his cell at the government's Supermax prison in Colorado, said Arkansas gun collector Roger Moore donated so-called binary explosives, made up of two components, to bomber Timothy J. McVeigh that were used in Oklahoma City, as well as additional bomb components that recently were found in Nichols' former home in Kansas.
The claim that a third man was involved in the plot comes as a California congressman has begun pressing for answers to lingering questions about the worst act of domestic terrorism in the United States.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the investigative arm of the House Committee on International Relations, has been collecting new evidence in the bombing and said he would announce soon whether to open formal hearings into the April 19, 1995, tragedy.
He says Nichols' knowledge about other potential conspirators is central to his investigation, especially since the components found in March in a crawl space below Nichols' home remained undetected for nearly a decade. The congressman said it was important to determine whether others were involved beyond Nichols and McVeigh, two Army pals who became anti-government zealots.
"That this mass murder of Americans was accomplished by two disgruntled veterans acting alone seems to be the conclusion reached by those in authority," Rohrabacher said recently on the House floor. "However, there are some unsettling loose ends and unanswered questions."
Nichols has been convicted twice - in federal court and in Oklahoma state court - and is serving two life sentences without parole. For 10 years he has kept silent; his revelations are considered particularly significant because they came in letters he sent to a woman named Kathy Sanders, who lost two grandchildren in the bombing.
Nichols, 50, said he wanted to speak out about the bombing because the 10-year anniversary last month honoring the victims had passed and "I felt the record should be set straight."
Attempts to find Moore, an itinerant gun dealer who has lived in Arkansas and Florida, for comment were unsuccessful. The FBI in the early stages of its investigation took a hard look at Moore because of his anti-government views and close relationship with McVeigh. In the past, Moore has steadfastly denied any involvement.
The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.