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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Former Friend Says McVeigh Considered Suicide Bombing

DENVER -- Timothy McVeigh cased the Oklahoma City federal building before the blast and was so bent on triggering a "general uprising in America" that he considered crashing his truck bomb through the front doors in a suicide attack, a former U.S. Army buddy testified.

Michael Fortier, testifying under a plea bargain as the U.S. government's star witness, said Monday that he was privy to many of McVeigh's plans but insisted he didn't think McVeigh would carry them out.

"If you don't consider what happened in Oklahoma, Tim was a good person," said Fortier, speaking in a calm, matter-of-fact tone. "I just didn't think Tim had it in him."

But Fortier said the blast happened just as McVeigh said it would, with the Ryder truck he talked about renting, the explosives he talked of buying and stealing, and for a reason he talked about endlessly -- to avenge the 1993 government siege on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas.

"He told me they wanted to bomb the building on the anniversary of Waco ... to cause a general uprising in America, hopefully that would knock some people off the fence and cause them to take action," Fortier said.

McVeigh could get the death penalty if convicted of murder and conspiracy in the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil -- the April 19, 1995, blast that killed 168 people and injured more than 500.

Under cross-examination, Fortier fended off sharp suggestions from defense attorney Stephen Jones that he was slanting his testimony against McVeigh to secure a more lenient sentence recommendation from prosecutors.

Fortier pleaded guilty to lesser charges in the bombing, including failure to report the plot and lying to the FBI. He faces up to 23 years in prison, but likely will get much less for his testimony.