Nichols' son will not testify in Oklahoma City preliminary hearing

LAS VEGAS - Josh Nichols, the son of convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, is refusing to testify against his father in his father's upcoming preliminary hearing on Oklahoma murder charges.

Josh Nichols' attorney, Dominic Gentile, said his client has been subpoenaed to testify Oct. 9 in the preliminary hearing in Oklahoma City. Gentile is arguing that a child should not be forced to testify against a parent.

''They want Josh to help them kill his father,'' Gentile said.

Gentile said it would break new legal ground to get a court to acknowledge a parent-child privilege, which would be much like a spousal privilege in which a husband and wife cannot be forced to testify against each other.

The boy's mother, Lana Padilla, the ex-wife of Terry Nichols, also has been subpoenaed and she plans to testify, Gentile said.

The preliminary hearing is to determine if Nichols should face trial on the 160 counts of first-degree murder Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy filed against him in March 1999.

Gentile has represented Josh Nichols, 17, since June 1997 on a pro bono basis.

Terry Nichols was convicted in federal court in Denver in December 1997 for conspiring with Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 500.

Nichols also was convicted of eight counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of eight federal officers. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. McVeigh, tried separately, was convicted of the bombing, conspiracy and eight counts of murder for the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers in the bombing. He is on death row.

Macy said he would seek the death penalty on the state murder charges.

Josh Nichols, who is a Las Vegas resident, was 12 at the time of the bombing. Terry Nichols lived in Southern Nevada intermittently from 1991 to 1994.


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