McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — Prosecutors at the murder trial of
Oklahoma City bombing conspirator and Michigan native Terry Nichols
used a drill bit yesterday to try to connect him to the theft of
blasting caps and detonation cord from a rock quarry.
Two expert witnesses testified that a bit seized from
Nichols’ home after the April 19, 1995, bombing made the
distinctive markings found in a drill hole in a padlock at the
quarry near Marion, Kan.
“That was the drill that was used,” said James
Cadigan, a retired FBI tool-mark examiner.
A variety of explosives, including detonation cord and blasting
caps, were stolen from the quarry less than seven months before the
bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The quarry was
about 25 miles from Nichols’ home in Herington, Kan.
Prosecutors say detonation cord and blasting caps were among the
components of the 4,000-pound fertilizer-and-fuel bomb that
destroyed the federal building, killing 168 people.
George Krivosta, of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s
Office on Long Island, N.Y., said he was certain the
one-quarter-inch drill bit made the markings “to the
exclusion of any other tool ever manufactured.”
Their testimony was attacked by defense attorneys, who
questioned procedures for examining the evidence and whether a
comparison is possible based on cuts and grooves left by a drill
“You are basing your conclusions on these bits and
pieces?” defense attorney Barbara Bergman asked as a
photograph showing microscopic detail of the drilled-out padlock
was displayed on television monitors for Nichols’ jury.
“I looked at all the marks that were left,” Cadigan
The drilled-out lock was found shortly after the Oct. 3, 1994,
burglary and was turned over to the FBI after the bombing. The
drill and drill bits were seized from Nichols’ home during an
FBI search on May 3, 1995.
Bergman questioned Cadigan at length about his experience and
about the accreditation of the FBI laboratory’s tool mark