Insurance agent at Nichols trial raises doubts about arms theft He calls into question prosecution witness who claims he was robbed

December 05, 1997|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

DENVER -- Defense lawyers in the second Oklahoma City bombing trial sought to raise questions yesterday about the character of Roger Moore, a central figure in the case whom prosecutors contend was robbed by Terry L. Nichols to help pay for the terrorist act.

The testimony, coming from neighbors and insurance officials, indicated that Moore has provided different accounts about what happened at his Arkansas horse farm five months before the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

The government contends that Nichols robbed Moore of a cache of guns and other valuables and that Timothy J. McVeigh later sold some of the loot to help finance the bombing, in which 168 people died and more than 500 were injured. Earlier testimony has shown that some of Moore's property was found in Nichols' home in Herington, Kan.

But the defense contends there was no robbery. Rather, defense lawyers have strongly suggested that Moore donated the property to McVeigh -- convicted earlier this year in the bombing -- because he shared McVeigh's anti-government views.

By raising doubts about Moore's character, the defense is poking small holes in the government's case. But after more than three dozen witnesses in the first three days of their presentation, Nichols lawyers have yet to knock down any major parts of the government's evidence against their client.

Yesterday, Richard Spivey, an insurance claims supervisor from Little Rock, Ark., said he investigated the robbery and visited Moore's farm. Spivey said Moore told him that most of the 77 stolen weapons had been stored in closets.

"I had questions as to whether that large a number of guns could fit into the closets," Spivey said.

McVeigh, who was sentenced to death in his trial, did not testify on his behalf. But many of the survivors of the bombing are hoping that Nichols takes the stand.

Pub Date: 12/05/97

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