Nichols' murder trialmoved to McAlester

OKLAHOMA CITY - The murder trial for Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols will be held in the southeast Oklahoma city of McAlester, a state judge decided Monday.

Nichols' trial is to start March 1.

District Judge Steven Taylor said he decided to move the trial out of Oklahoma County because of extensive pretrial publicity. Nichols' defense attorneys had asked that it be moved out of state, and state prosecutors wanted it held in a county closer to Oklahoma City.

McAlester, a city of about 16,000 people, is about 130 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. It is the location of Taylor's home court.

In a statement, Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane said he agreed with Nichols' defense attorneys that Nichols' jury should not be selected in Oklahoma County. "We are confident as is the trial judge that a fair and impartial jury can be found with the good folks around the McAlester area," Lane said.

Nichols' lead defense attorney, Brian Hermanson, declined comment, citing a gag order.

Nichols, 48, faces 161 state counts of first-degree murder for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. He was convicted of federal bombing charges and sentenced to life in prison. State prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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