I've got to say that I am not comfortable with trying crimes both at the Federal level and the State level. I realize that it is not a double jeopardy sitauation, but it seems to be against the spirit of the law.
That said, I'm not sure that I agree with Nichols not getting the death penalty. I guess the defense was compelling enough to convince at least one person that there may have been other conspirators.
Refresh my memory here - was the death penalty not an option in the Federal trial?
I should probably google for how they were able to execute McVeigh.
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#2 Posted on 12.6.04 1428.48 Reposted on: 12.6.11 1429.01
Originally posted by Guru ZimRefresh my memory here - was the death penalty not an option in the Federal trial?
Yes, the death penalty was an option in the Federal trial. However, the federal jury deadlocked on whether or not to sentence Terry Nichols to death or to life in prison. FWIW, the state jury this week found Nichols guilty of 161 counts of first-degree murder (after just five hours of deliberation); however, as this article (fox23news.com) points out:
Originally posted by Fox 23 newsNichols, 49, was acquitted of federal murder charges in 1997 but convicted of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter charges in the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers in the bombing.
So, having not convicted Terry Nichols of first-degree murder, it made sense that the federal jury did not sentence him to death. Tim Sullivan, reporting on the January 7,1998 edition of PBS' "NewsHour", relayed the following information he had garnered from one of the jurors :
Originally posted by Tim SullivanShe [one of the federal jurors] also pointed out that the evidence was highly circumstantial; that there was no direct evidence, as she put it, linking Terry Nichols to anything involving the actual commission of this crime.
For those interested, the full transcript of Tim Sullivan's report on the "NewsHour" broadcast can be found here (pbs.org). Finally, for what it's worth, according to this article (gallup.com) the American public at the time of the federal trial was pretty much equally divided over whether or not Nichols should be sentenced to death, with 45% of Americans saying that Nichols should be sentenced to death for his crime versus 42% believing that he should be given life imprisonment.