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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2nd Trial Begins for Oklahoma Bombing

DENVER -- Federal prosecutors on Tuesday faced the task of laying out a detailed case against accused Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, presenting to a fresh jury much of the same evidence used to convict Timothy McVeigh.


As in the McVeigh case, prosecutors opened their case on Monday by giving the jury a heart-wrenching glimpse of what happened on the morning of April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma City.


Among the first pieces of evidence presented was the tape-recorded proceedings of a meeting that was taking place nearby. The tape captured the breathtaking roar, the crashes and the screams that accompanied the blast.


The explosion at the Alfred P. Murrah federal building killed 168 people, including 19 children in its day-care center.


The dramatic tape recording was used to open the testimony against McVeigh, who was convicted on June 2 and sentenced to death.


Nichols faces the same 11 conspiracy and murder charges and could also receive the death penalty if convicted.


All four witnesses who testified on Monday against Nichols first appeared in the McVeigh trial.


One of those witnesses was a man who testified that a piece of flying debris from the explosion destroyed his car.


That debris proved to be the rear axle from the truck rented by McVeigh to carry the bomb, and it became a valuable clue in identifying him.


The challenge to prosecutors is to sound fresh while presenting the same evidence again, legal commentator Andrew Cohen said.


Such a situation could work to the advantage of Nichols' defense attorney Michael Tigar, who watched but did not participate in the McVeigh trial.


Tigar, delivering his opening statement on Monday in defense of Nichols, said his client should not be held responsible because of his friendship with McVeigh. The two first met while serving in the U.S. Army.


Hammering away at his theme that "Terry Nichols was not there" when McVeigh built and detonated the bomb, Tigar portrayed his client as a family man, in stark contrast to McVeigh's grim life as a drifter.


Prosecutor Larry Mackey argued in his opening statement that Nichols knew full well what McVeigh was intending to do and helped him, even if he was hundreds of miles away at his home in Herington, Kansas, on the day of the blast.


Mackey said he planned to present 13 witnesses to represent all the agencies housed in the federal building, as well as someone to testify about the children killed in the day-care center.