Oklahoma Bombing Revisited

Tigar and Woods

In 1997 Michael E. Tigar and former NAFUSA executive director Ronald Woods, shown in a 1997 photo, began the defense of Terry Nichols for his alleged role in conspiring with Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal court house, which resulted in the death of at least 169 people. McVeigh had been convicted in a separate trial and received the death penalty. Tigar and Woods succeeded in obtaining a change of venue to Colorado, and the jury found Nichols guilty on the conspiracy count, not guilty of arson, use of a weapon of mass destruction, first degree murder, second degree murder, but guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Nichols was sentenced to life without parole.

In the April 2014 issue of the Michigan Law Review, Tigar reviews the recent book Killing McVeigh: The Death Penalty and the Myth of Closure, by Jody Lynee Maderia. Tigar entitles his review Missing Mcveigh and reflects on his experience defending Nichols with Woods, who he calls “the best cocounsel one could imagine.” According to Tigar, Maderia’s book “examines the ways that victims groups came together and the goals they set for themselves” and that “Maderia exposes and dismisses the myth that killing a perpetrator gives victims any benefit that can meaningfully be called closure.”

The Tigar review is full of memories of the the Oklahoma City bombing and trials.