DENVER (AP) — Federal prosecutors want more than a dozen guns belonging to Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols destroyed rather than turned over to his ex-wife, fearing the weapons would be sold and used in copycat crimes, given their owner’s notoriety.
Prosecutors said in Monday court filings that the government should be allowed to destroy Nichols’ rifles, handguns and shotguns and apply their value to the millions of dollars he still owes in restitution. Nichols argued in July that the 13 weapons should be transferred to his ex-wife because he owes child support. The guns were seized from Nichols’ Kansas home but had no part in the 1995 bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people.
Nichols “should not be able to obtain more than the fair market value for his property simply because of his status as a domestic terrorist and the notoriety of the crimes he committed,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy L. Padden wrote in the filings. She pointed to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who sought the return of his property, including some firearms. The victims whom he owed restitution were allowed to buy the guns and have them destroyed so they could not be used in future crimes.
In Nichols’ case, the victim seeking restitution is the United States, Padden said.
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Nichols was convicted of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and of involuntary manslaughter of eight federal agents. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of civilians.
In a handwritten motion to Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch in Denver, who presided over the trials of Nichols and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, Nichols said his incarceration prevents him from paying child support to his ex-wife.
He said his efforts to recover his guns are “not for his own personal gain but rather solely for the benefit of his ex-wife,” whose whereabouts he doesn’t know.
Padden said Nichols has shown no evidence he was ordered to pay child support.