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Wrap-Up of the Bombing Case

May 30, 1997

The major points raised by the prosecution and defense in the Timothy J. McVeigh trial:

About the Truck

Prosecution says . . .

* A piece of truck debris was embedded with ammonium nitrate crystals similar to those allegedly used to build the bomb, according to an FBI lab official.

* A former Ford Motor Co. engineer said that mangled truck parts found at the the blast site match the Ryder truck allegedly rented by Timothy McVeigh.

* The owner of a Kansas truck-rental agency identified McVeigh as the man who rented the Ryder truck that carried the bomb.

****

Defense says . . .

* FBI Special Agent Frederic Whitehurst testified that he no longer accepts the lab's conclusion that a piece of a Ryder truck found after the explosion showed evidence of ammonium nitrate.

* An employee at the Ryder truck agency recalled that McVeigh rented the Ryder truck with a second man who has never been found.

* A woman testifified she saw a large Ryder rental truck on April 16 at the motel where McVeigh was registered. This conflicts with the government's theory that McVeigh rented the truck on Monday, April 17.

About the Defendant

Prosecution says . . .

* McVeigh's sister, Jennifer, identified his handwriting on letters he had written, one even threatening federal law enforcement officials with this epithet: "Die, you cowardice bastards."

* Michael Fortier described how he watched McVeigh stockpile explosive components and boast that he was targeting the Murrah Federal Building.

* Lori Fortier testified that McVeigh chose the federal building for destruction because he believed--wrongly--that it was the home office of agents who had raided the Branch Davidian compound.

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Defense says . . .

* A Junction City waitress testified that she saw McVeigh about 4:30 p.m. on April 16, 1995. Her testimony contradicts the government's evidence that McVeigh was headed to Oklahoma City at that time to drop off his getaway car.

* Lenard and Diana White testified seeing McVeigh's 1977 Mercury Marquis at the Dreamland Motel. "It wasn't tilted or cocked or anything else," Lenard White said, indicating it wasn't loaded down with bomb materials.

* A state medical examiner, testified that a left leg was recovered from the bomb debris that did not match any of the 168 bodies. This suggests that another individual planted the bomb.

About the Bomb

Prosecution says . . .

* Traces of explosives were found on McVeigh's clothing.

* Dozens of receipts collected by FBI agents seemed to pin McVeigh to large purchases of ammonium nitrate, leases on storage lockers and the rental of the Ryder truck.

* A childhood friend said McVeigh phoned him looking for racing fuel oil--an ingredient the government contends McVeigh wanted to mix with ammonium nitrate to make the truck bomb.

Defense says . . .

* An FBI lab official testified that it was unclear who was supervising the lab's review of the blast. He said that examinations of McVeigh's alleged getaway car and a series of storage lockers where he reportedly kept bomb components had not found any traces of the ammonium nitrate allegedly used in the bomb.

Researched D'JAMILA SALEM FITZGERALD / Los Angeles Times

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