(4/19/95)A truck bomb exploded in front of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The bomb was placed by Timothy MacVeigh and Terry Nichols; 168 people were killed in the bombing. MacVeigh was convicted and executed with Terry Nichols is serving a life term. The bombing represented what had been a growing anger at the federal government by groups of extremist. The effect ot the bombing however, undermined whatever support these groups might have had.
Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols met at Fort Benning in 1988 when they were both in basic training. They and Michael Fortier who served with McVeigh stayed in touch. They were angered by the actions of the FBI in WACO Texas against the Branch Davidians. McVeigh decided he had to respond and after examining a number of options decided to bomb the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, called the Alfred Murrah Federal Building.
McVeigh together with Nichols began to plan the bombing and start to build the bomb. It took them a few months to assemble all the parts of the weapon. This included 5,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. On April 14, 1995, McVeigh rented a Ryders F-700 Truck. McVeigh and Nichols drove separately to Oklahoma City to leave a getaway vehicle. On April 17-18 McVeigh and Nichols turned the F-700 truck into one big bomb.
On the dawn of April 19, 1995, McVeigh drove the truck to the Oklahoma City. He headed to the Federal Building. As he neared it, he set a 5-minute fuse. He parked the truck in the area for drop off and pick up for the day care center locked the truck and headed for his getaway truck.
At 9:02 AM the truck bomb when off, with the power 5,000 pounds of TNT. One-third of the building was destroyed. One hundred sixty-eight people were killed in the blast and the subsequent collapse of the building. Of them, 19 were young children and babies at the day care center. In addition, three pregnant women were killed in the blast. The explosion injured six hundred eighty people.
McVeigh was stopped 90 minutes later because he was driving a truck without a license plate. McVeigh was tried and found guilty of murder. He was executed on one 11, 2001, the first Federal inmate executed in 38 years. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Michael Fortier agreed to testify against McVeigh in return for a reduced sentence and no charges against his wife who had also helped. He received a 12-year sentence, but was released early in 2006 for good behavior and then entered into the Witness Protection Program.