McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols was again spared the death penalty yesterday when jurors who convicted him on 161 state murder counts deadlocked over his sentence.
Six years ago, a federal jury reached a similar impasse.The hung jury denies prosecutors the death sentence they first demanded nearly a decade ago.
Jurors announced they could not reach a verdict after deliberating for 191/2 hours over three days. Nichols will be sentenced by Judge Steven Taylor, who is required by law to sentence him to life in prison.
Judge Taylor asked jury foreman Peter Mills if more deliberations could bring about a decision. Mr. Mills said that would not help.
“Three days you have worked on this,” Judge Taylor told the jury. “And sometimes this is how cases end. The law anticipates that juries may not reach unanimous conclusions.”
The jury, which convicted Nichols on May 26, began deliberating in the trial’s sentencing phase Wednesday after a week of emotional testimony. Nichols, 49, faced sentences of life in prison or death by injection.
Judge Taylor set the sentencing for Aug. 9.
The April 19, 1995, bombing killed 168 persons and wounded 500.