|April 23, 1968
James McVeigh is born.
parents, Bill and Mickey, permanently separate.
|May 24, 1988
already with developed "survivalist" inclinations (having read, among
other books, the Turner Diaries),
joins the army. He meets Terry Nichols in basic training in
Georgia. They both serve later at Fort Riley, Kansas.
|May 15, 1989
receives an honorable discharge.
returns from four months service in the Persian Gulf War. He
begins 30 days of Special Services training at Fort Bragg, before
returning to Fort Riley.
moves into an off-base home in Herrington, Kansas, where he will live
for the next eight months.
leaves his army unit and moves to upstate New York, near Buffalo, to
live with his father. He begins working for a security
becomes increasingly disenchanted with politicians, taxes, anti-gun
and U. S. foreign policy. He experiences bouts of serious
depression, including thoughts of suicide. He writes angry
letters to newspapers and to his
congressman on subjects such as his objection to inhumane
slaughterhouses and a proposed law
prohibiting the possession of "noxious substances." He
urges friends to read the Turner
Diaries, a book urging violent action against the United States
has a long stay at the Michigan home of Terry Nichols, who shares
McVeigh's growing hatred of the federal government.
|August 21-31, 1992
follows with great interest news stories about the government's 10-day
to arrest Idaho survivalist Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge. A deputy
marshal and Weaver's 14-year-old son are killed the first day.
next day Randy Weaver is wounded. The incident ends with a
federal agent shooting and killing Weaver's wife, leading to Weaver's
surrender. McVeigh finds the government's
moves out of his father's home and into a Lockport, New York apartment.
|January 26, 1993
quits his job at the security company, sells most of his belongings,
and begins a series of long road trips. He begins selling guns
and military items at gun shows, including one show where he meets and
befriends a gun dealer named Roger Moore.
|February 28, 1993
U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), using about 80
armed agents, attempts to execute a search and arrest warrant (for
possession of illegal weapons) against
the Branch Davidians, a religious community headed by David Koresh and
based in central Texas, near the city of Waco. The raid ends
unsuccessfully and badly, with six Branch Davidians and four agents
killed. What will turn out to be a 51-day stand-off begins at the
Mount Carmel compound.
incensed by reports of the siege at Mount Carmel, travels to Texas to
visit the site. He is blocked at a checkpoint three miles from
the Branch Davidian's compound. On March 30, an interview with
McVeigh about the siege and his feelings toward the government,
including a photo, runs in the S.M.U. college newspaper.
|April 19, 1993
FBI and army attack the Mount Carmel compound of the Branch
Davidians. Tanks ram holes in the building and CS gas is pumped
inside. Pyrotechnic devices are fired into the building, igniting
a fire that soon became an inferno. Seventy-four men, women, and
children are found dead inside the building. McVeigh watches
reports on the dramatic events from the Nichols family farm in Michigan.
meets Andreas Strassmeir, security head for the militant, far-right
compound "Elohim City", at at Tulsa gun show.
McVeigh, visiting Michael Fortier in Kingman, Arizona, tells Fortier it is time to take violent action against the United States government. McVeigh stays in Kingman for five months, working a security job for minimum wage. During this time, McVeigh and Fortier discuss forming a militia for battle against "the New World Order," represented--they thought--by the government's actions at Waco.
McVeigh continues to sell weapons at gun shows. In the fall, he leaves for Michigan to see Nichols.
|October 12, 1993
and Nichols drive to Elohim City, a compound for members of the
militant right in eastern Oklahoma. The meeting at Elohim
City includes person later to be convicted for a series of bank
robberies in the Midwest. (A speeding ticket two months
later, for an infraction just a few miles from Elohim City, indicates
that McVeigh made repeat visits to the compound.)
|October 1993-January 1994
and McVeigh go to a gun show in Arkansas, where they consider buying a
house. The two men return to Michigan. McVeigh, using the
name "Tim Tuttle," begins buying nitromethane (a key ingredient in
explosives) at hobby shops.
takes a job in lumberyard in Kingman, Arizona.
behavior moves increasingly out of the mainstream. He turns his
Arizona home into a bunker and begins making and exploding small
bombs. On March 16, he renounces his U. S. citizenship. He openly
promotes his apocalyptic world view and begins using
methamphetamine. In July, he and Fortier steal various items from
a National Guard armory and McVeigh trespasses on top secret government
land, "Area 51" near Roswell, New Mexico.
||In August, McVeigh cases a bank in Buffalo, Oklahoma, but decides not to rob it. In early September, McVeigh travels to Gulfport, Mississippi to investigate a rumor that the town had become a staging area for United Nations troops and equipment.|
|September 12, 1994
participates in military maneuvers at Elohim City. (A September
13 hotel receipt confirms his presence in the area.).
|September 13, 1994
begins plotting to blow up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma
City. On the same day, and not coincidentally, a new ban on
assault weapons becomes law. (According to the government's
complaint filed after the bombing, this date represents the beginning
of the McVeigh-Nichols conspiracy to destroy the federal building.)
|September 22, 1994
rents a storage unit in Herington, Kansas, which he uses to store
|September 30, 1994
buys his first ton of ammonium nitrate, an agricultural fertilizer that
is a key ingredient in McVeigh's bomb, at a farm cooperative in
|October 3, 1994
burglarizes a quarry near Marion, Kansas, and steals dynamite and
blasting caps. He and Nichols drive to Arizona, where they stay
for two weeks.
|October 18, 1994
and Nichols buy a second ton of ammonium nitrate in McPherson, Kansas.
|October 20, 1994
and Nichols drive by the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. They
get out of their car, and time the distance to a place McVeigh would be
at the time the bomb would go off.
|October 21, 1994
a biker disguise, McVeigh purchases nearly $3,000 worth of
nitromethane, a racing fuel used in bomb construction, from a Dallas,
track. After purchasing the fuel, they travel to Kingman, where
McVeigh and Fortier test the explosives mixture.
a plan arranged by McVeigh, robbers breaks into the home of
Arkansas gun dealer Roger Moore, and makes off with guns and valuables.
Meanwhile, Andreas Strassmeier and (Elohim City) and Dennis Mahon (Tulsa, associated with KKK) make the first of three trips to Oklahoma City to investigate possible bombing targets. The ATF, through the reports of undercover agent Carole Howe, is aware of their plans.
and Michael Fortier drive to Oklahoma City, where McVeigh points out
his target. FBI documents also point to McVeigh's participation
this month in bank robberies, along with other criminal elements from
and Nichols discuss bombing plans while living out of rented rooms in
material is moved from Arizona into McVeigh's Herington, Kansas storage
unit. In the middle of February, McVeigh moves into Fortier's
Arizona home, where he will stay for one month.
After a meeting involving officials of the ATF, FBI, and U.S. Attorney's Office, a planned raid of Elohim City is called off.
Nichols thinks about backing out of the bombing plan. McVeigh
obtains a fake ID. By the end of the month, he is clear
that he doesn't want to be involved on the day of the bombing, now set
to coincide with the second anniversary of the attack at Waco.
|April 5, 1995
places a 15-minute phone call to Elohim City.
|April 5-12, 1995
lives out of a rented motel room in Kingman, Arizona. Fortier
tells McVeigh he doesn't want to participate further in the bombing
plot. On April 8, McVeigh is videotaped by a security camera in a
club. He is at the club with Andreas Strassmeir and Michael
Brescia, two residents of Elohim City. McVeigh can be heard on
the tape telling a dancer at
the club, "On April 19, you'll remember me for the rest of my life."
|April 13, 1995
visits Oklahoma City and finds a place to leave a car to use after the
bombing. He inspects his storage shed in Herington, Kansas.
|April 14, 1995
buys a 1977 Mercury Marquis in Junction City, Kansas. He also
calls a rental shop in Junction City to reserve a Ryder truck. He
meets with Terry Nichols at Geary Lake (Nichols gives McVeigh some
cash) before checking into the Dreamland Motel in Junction City.
|April 15, 1995
using the name "Robert Kling," puts down a deposit for a Ryder truck at
Elliot's Body Shop.
|April 16, 1995
meets Nichols at a Dairy Queen in Herington. They drive in
separate cars to Oklahoma City, where McVeigh leaves his getaway
car. The two men then drive back to Kansas.
|April 17, 1995
picks up the Ryder rental truck in Junction City and drives the truck
back to the Dreamland Motel.
|April 18, 1995
leaves the Dreamland Motel in the Ryder truck in the early
morning. McVeigh drives to his storage unit where he meets
Nichols. The men load bags of fertilizer and drums of
nitromethane into the truck. McVeigh and Nichols drive separately
to Geary Lake park in Kansas, where the two men mix the explosive
components. In the afternoon, McVeigh heads south toward Oklahoma
in the Ryder truck. He parks the truck for the night near Ponca
City, Oklahoma, and sleeps in his truck.
|April 19, 1995
awakes near Ponca City and about 7 A.M. begins driving toward Oklahoma
City. He wears a T-shirt with a drawing of Abraham Lincoln and
the words (shouted by John Wilkes Booth) "SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS" ("thus
ever to tyrants"). About 8:50 A.M., McVeigh enters Oklahoma
City. As he drives the Ryder truck up NW 5th Street shortly
before 9:00, he lights two bomb fuses. He parks the truck at a
drop-off point in front of the Murrah Federal Building, locks the
truck, and walks quickly toward a nearby YMCA building. At 9:02
A.M., the truck explodes, taking with it much of the Murrah Building
and seriously damaging many nearby buildings. Eventually, it will
be determined that 167 people died, and over 500 were injured, in the
explosion. McVeigh hops into
his Mercury and heads north out of the city. At 10:20 A.M., while
driving north on I-35, McVeigh is stopped for having no license plates
on his vehicle. He is arrested for having no vehicle
registration, no license plates, and carrying a concealed weapon
without a permit. He is booked and lodged in the county jail in
Meanwhile, federal agents find the vehicle identification number of the Ryder truck, and head off to Junction City, Kansas to determine who might have rented it.
At 9 P.M., white supremacist Richard Snell is executed in Arkansas after having told prison officials for four days that there would be a big bombing or explosion on the day of his execution (Denver Post story). Snell is connected with several of the men in Elohim City involved in a plot to attack federal buildings.
|April 21, 1995
former co-worker in New York identifies Timothy McVeigh as the "John
Doe No. 1" depicted in police drawings. A warrant is issued for
McVeigh's arrest. Authorities discover that McVeigh is still in
Perry, where he is scheduled to appear before a judge on his
misdemeanor charges. McVeigh is taken to Tinker Air Force base
near Oklahoma City. McVeigh is arraigned in the evening.
Terry Nichols turns himself in to authorities in Herington, Kansas. He consents to a search of his home.
|April 28, 1995
U. S. magistrate orders McVeigh held without bail.
|May 4, 1995
to the instability of the remaining structure, the search for
additional bodies at the explosion site is called off.
|May 10, 1995
Nichols is charged in connection with the bombing.
|June 14, 1995
call off the search for "John Doe No. 2," concluding the sketches are
of an innocent person.
|August 8, 1995
Fortier and his wife testify before a grand jury investigating the
|August 11, 1995
grand jury indicts McVeigh and Nichols on murder and conspiracy charges.
|October 20, 1995
General Janet Reno authorizes prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
|December 1, 1995
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals removes Oklahoma District Judge Wayne
Alley from the case and assigns the case to Judge Richard Matsch of
|February 20, 1996
the defendant's right to an impartial jury, Judge Matsch moves the
trial from Oklahoma City to Denver.
|October 25, 1996
Matsch orders separate trials for McVeigh and Nichols, with McVeigh to
be tried first.
|February 28, 1997
publish reports that McVeigh has confessed.
|March 31, 1997
selection begins in the McVeigh trial.
|April 24, 1997
statements are presented in the McVeigh trial.
|May 21, 1997
prosecution rests after having presented 137 witnesses.
|May 28, 1997
defense rests after having presented 25 witnesses. Closing
arguments are set for the next day.
|June 2, 1997
is convicted on all eleven counts.
|June 13, 1997
hearing arguments in the penalty phase of the trial, the jury
unanimously decides that McVeigh should be sentenced to death.
|September 29, 1997
Terry Nichols trial opens.
|December 23, 1997
is convicted of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and
involuntary manslaughter. He is found not guilty of use of a
weapon of mass destruction.
|January 7, 1998
jury deadlocks on the sentence for Nichols.
|May 27, 1998
Fortier, who failed to warn authorities of the bombing plan but
testified against McVeigh and Nichols, is sentenced to 12 years in
|June 4, 1998
Nichols is sentenced to life in prison.
|September 8, 1998
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds McVeigh's conviction.
|March 9, 1999
U. S. Supreme Court refuses to hear McVeigh's appeal of his conviction.
|July 13, 1999
is transferred to the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
|March 12, 2000
is interviewed by Ed Bradley on the CBS program 60 Minutes.
|April 19, 2000
ceremonies are held at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The
event marks the fifth anniversary of the bombing.
|January 16, 2001
McVeigh says he wants to drop all appeals of his death sentence, an
execution date of May 16 is set.
|May 10, 2001
days before the scheduled execution, the Justice Department admits that
it found over 4,000 pages of evidence that should have been turned over
to the defense before trial, but wasn't. Attorney General
Ashcroft postpones the execution for 30 days to allow defense attorneys
to review the newly released documents.
|June 1, 2001
changes his mind and allows his attorneys to file appeals to delay the
|June 7, 2001
appeal court denies McVeigh's request for a stay of execution, and
McVeigh announces that he is ready to die.
|June 11, 2001
is executed as survivors and relatives of victims watch on
closed-circuit television. McVeigh is pronounced dead at 7:14 A.M.
|May 26, 2004
being tried in state court in Oklahoma on 160 charges of first-degree
murder, Terry Nichols is found guilty of all charges. The jury
deadlocks on the death penalty, thus sparing his life.
|January 20, 2006
Fortier is released from prison after serving 10½ years of his