Oklahoma City Bombing

Largest act of terror prior to 9-11.

In 1995, Timothy McVey (left above), a Gulf War veteran and deranged man, detonated a bomb outside the Murrah federal building, killing 168 people.

After a manhunt and extensive federal trial, McVey was found guilty and, after exhausting appeals, was executed on June 11, 2001. This was the first federal application of the death penalty since the 1960s.

McVey’s case is also an interesting look in federal and state jurisdiction. His accomplice, Terry Nichols (right), received a lesser sentence at the federal level, but the State of Oklahoma indicted and convicted him for 168 counts of murder in search of the death penalty as well.

Nichols case is a lesson in overlapping jurisdictions. Could the criminal behavior he engaged in be illegal by both federal and state law? Check out CNN’s Fast Facts and timeline about Nichols involvement and trials.



1. What was an early event in the timeline that contributed to the story?

2. What took place in federal court? Where was McVeigh tried? Why?

3. How did Terry Nichols’s state trial differ from the other trials?


Photo/Image: Oklahoma City Memorial, U.S. Air Force photo, by Mark Hybers