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Monday, 7 January, 2002, 16:21 GMT
Oklahoma plotter loses appeal
The Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after bomb explosion
The Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 people
The US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, who faces a new trial on murder charges.

Nichols argued that more charges brought against him in connection with the 1995 bombing violated his right against being tried twice for the same crime.

Terry Nichols (right) during his earlier trial
Terry Nichols (right) is already serving a life sentence
But justices, without comment, let stand a ruling by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals that Nichols can be tried on 160 counts of first-degree murder.

He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Nichols was a former friend of Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted and executed last June for delivering and detonating the bomb which destroyed the office building, killing 168 people.

A federal jury convicted Nichols in 1997 for conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of eight federal agents in the building.

He is currently serving a life sentence.

Double jeopardy

Prosecutors say the state charges involve different victims than the federal charges.

Nichols's argument that the state prosecution amounted to double jeopardy has already been rejected by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

The next step will be for Nichols to attend a hearing to determine whether enough evidence exists to put him on trial.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mike Fox
"Terry Nichols was a friend of Timothy McVeigh"
See also:

11 Jun 01 | Americas
Defiant McVeigh dies in silence
07 Jun 01 | Americas
The enemy within
06 Jun 01 | Americas
Spotlight on US death penalty
04 Jun 01 | Americas
Prosecutors oppose McVeigh delay
16 May 01 | Americas
FBI admits McVeigh blunder
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