Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols could face the death penalty in Oklahoma, after the Supreme Court yesterday rejected his appeal against being tried on state murder charges related to the 1995 attack. Nichols argued the pending charges violate his constitutional right not to be tried twice for the same crime. A federal jury in 1997 convicted and sentenced him to life in prison for conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of eight federal agents. Without comment or dissent, the justices let stand a ruling by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals that Nichols can be tried in state court on 160 counts of first-degree murder for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
A Florida teenager who crashed a small plane into a skyscraper had no known terrorist ties, despite a note he wrote expressing sympathy for Osama bin Laden and support for the Sept. 11 attacks on the US. Instead, Charles Bishop was a "troubled" boy and a loner with few friends, Tampa Police Chief Bennie Holder (above left, with National Transportation Safety Board member Butch Wilson) told reporters. The teenager deliberately flew a twin engine Cessna 172R into the 42-story Bank of America Plaza in downtown Tampa, Fla., on Saturday night, Holder said.
Investigators following the money trail in the Sept. 11 attacks have traced more than $325,000 via credit card receipts, ATM withdrawals, and other transactions connected to the 19 suspected hijackers, The Washington Post reported yesterday. The money was transferred to the hijack teams from associates in the United Arab Emirates and a handful of other countries, including Pakistan and Germany. Officials believe that the rest of the expenditures for the $500,000 operation were made in cash, but are still unsure of the money's origin.
Focusing on the economy as he returned to Washington after a 12-day vacation, President Bush was scheduled to meet his top economic advisers and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan yesterday afternoon. White House officials said the meeting with the country's chief central banker showed Bush's focus on reviving the economy, which slid into recession last year. Washington is already the center of an election-year blame game over the economy.
American Airlines chief executive Don Carter backs a pilot's decision to remove an armed Arab-American Secret Service agent from a Christmas Day flight. The pilot described the man, who was flying to Waco, Texas, to join the security detail protecting President Bush at his ranch, as acting "very hostile." Lawyers representing the agent disputed the pilot's account and said their client was a victim of racial bias. The agent is demanding an apology from the airline and civil rights training for its flight crews.