Guarding Terry Lynn Nichols
by Jim A Heitmeyer
Rated "G" by the Author.
edited: Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2008
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My personal experience in guarding Terry Nichols while working for the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office
Terry Lynn Nichols (born April 1, 1955) was a U.S. Army veteran who was convicted of being an accomplice to Timothy McVeigh, the man convicted of murder in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S, April 19, 1995), which claimed 168 lives.
Nichols was convicted of eight counts of manslaughter in a United States District Court and was sentenced to life imprisonment in ADX Florence, a super max prison in Florence, Colorado. The state of Oklahoma then charged him with capital murder. The McAlester, Oklahoma trial started March 1, 2004. The jury selection and the testimony phase began on March 22 and he was convicted on August 9, of 161 counts of first-degree murder. As in the Federal trial, the jury spared him the death penalty and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Nichols since then has alleged that a high-ranking FBI official was directing Timothy McVeigh in the plot to blow up a government building and that plans may have changed the original target of the attack, according to a new affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Utah on February 9, 2007.
Somewhere around 27 October 2000, while working as a Lieutenant Jail Commander for the Oklahoma County Jail facility, I was temporarily re-assigned to guard Terry Nichols. My duties were to insure that he did not escape, would eat three meals a day, receive his one-hour exercise period three times a week, did not communicate with any unauthorized person, that he received his proper cleaning supplies daily to clean his cell, to monitor anything or anyone having access to his living quarters area. Sight checks were made unannounced to monitor his activities. Normally, Terry spent a majority of his time preparing for his court case or going over paperwork for either his defense or for other reasons. His medications were always inspected and given to him in a timely manner. The main door leading into his living area was behind two steel jail doors that remained locked at all times. Location of his holding area cannot be disclosed for security reasons.
Terry and his daily actions were supervised and monitored twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week by a camera, deputy sheriff or by myself. During his time in the County jail, Terry was never mistreated by anyone working the jail or who came into contact with him to my knowledge. Terry was a quiet person who only spoke when needing something or asking a question, he appeared highly intelligent and acted respectively at all times. He would not say anything else nor was he asked by anyone to elaborate about his alleged involvement in the Murrell building bombing.
He had a sense of humor now and then. I am not a judge or the executioner … I was a detention officer doing my job regardless of who the prisoner was, being a detention officer is never easy. You are always required to treat prisoners fairly, respectively, and honestly regardless of their crimes. I am writing this short story as to what occurred during the time I was watching over him. He was a prisoner under my care as any other prisoner I was required to supervise, no special treatment was given to him. The bombing was a major tragedy and that I had participated in the recovery of some human remains, property items and worked in security operations for the United States Marshals Office after the disaster. I have no opinions or statements concerning Terry Nichols other than what I have already written.