Nick Name: Ted Parker, Joe Rivers
Birthday: April 1, 1955
Age: 65 Years, 65 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Terry Lynn Nichols
Born Country: United States
Born in: Lapeer, Michigan, United States
Notorious As: Terrorist
Spouse/Ex-: Lana Walsh (m. 1981–1988), Marife Torres (m. 1990–2003)
father: Robert Nichols
mother: Joyce Nichols
siblings: James Nichols
children: Joshua Nichols
education: Lapeer High School, Central Michigan University
Terry Nichols is an American homegrown terrorist, sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing case. Raised on their family farm in Michigan, he could never hold a job very long. Over the time, he grew an anti-government sentiment; but it was the attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, by the federal agencies in 1993, which triggered an urge to take revenge. Plotting with Timothy McVeigh, whom he had met and befriended during a short stint at the US army, he made all the arrangements to leave a truck laden with bombs in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma on April 19, 1995. The bomb killed at least 168 people, including nineteen children. While McVeigh was sentenced to death for actually triggering the bomb, Nichols was sent to life imprisonment for being an accomplice. Their third accomplice, Michael Fortier, became a state witness.
Childhood & Early Years
Terry Nichols was born on April 1, 1955 in Lapeer, at that time a small town in the US state of Michigan. His parents, Robert and Joyce Nichols, were farmers. Born third of his parents’ four children, he had at least two brothers called James and Leslie Nichols.
Like all other farm children of the area, he and his siblings grew up working on the farm, picking up rocks from the field, pitching manure etc. Later, he learned to operate and maintain farm equipments. A shy boy, he also took care of injured birds and animals.
Educated at Lapeer High School, he earned mostly Bs and Cs in elective subjects such as crafts and business law, eventually graduating from there in 1973. During this period, he participated in the junior varsity football and wrestling, and was a member of the ski club
In 1973, after graduating from school, he joined Central Michigan University, wanting to become a physician. However, he did not do too well in studies. Raised on farm, he might have found college life too structured.
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In Search of Career
In 1974, Terry Nichols returned home to work on the farm with James. But unable to adjust, he soon left for Colorado, where in 1976 he obtained a license to sell real estate, shortly closing his first big deal. Thereafter, he returned home on the request of his mother.
Back in Michigan, he took up a series of part-time and short-term jobs. For a while, he dabbled in carpentry work, later managed a grain elevator, and then sold life insurance and real estate.
In 1988, he joined the United States Army and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, for his basic training. At the age of thirty-three, he found the physical training rather difficult and so was adjusting with much younger platoon members. It was also here that he met and became friendly with Timothy McVeigh.
Nichols and McVeigh were later transferred to Fort Riley, where Nichols became a driver for his commanding officer. Here, they met their third accomplice Michael Fortier. Shortly after that, Nichols applied for hardship discharge, eventually returning home in May 1989.
Developing Anti-Government Views
In Michigan, where Terry Nichols spent most of his adult life, anti-federal government views were quite common. It increased manifold when in 1980s the banks took control of many farms. On his return to Michigan, Nichols began to attend many such meetings.
In the fall of 1991, Timothy McVeigh was honorably discharged from the army. But on his return to civilian life, he could neither secure a steady job, nor a steady girlfriend. Slowly, he too began to develop a grudge against the government.
In December 1991, Terry Nichols invited McVeigh to join him in Michigan. For the next three years, they spent a lot of time together, eventually becoming business partners, selling weapons and military surplus at gun shows across the USA in the fall of 1993.
In February 1992, Nichols tried to renounce his citizenship, declared himself a “non-resident alien” and condemned the political system as corrupt. Again on October 19, 1992, he signed another document renouncing his US citizenship and in May 1993, gave up his driving license.
On April 19, 1993, while watching TV with McVeigh, he came to learn about the attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas by the federal agencies. It enraged both of them and very soon they began plotting revenge. However, they had to wait for some time for that.
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In March 1994, Nichols moved to Kansas, where he was hired as a ranch hand. He quit his job in the fall, telling his employer that he intended to go into business. Actually, they had by then decided to make a loud statement by bombing the Murrah Building in Oklahoma.
The preparation for Oklahoma began by late September, 1994, when Terry Nichols and McVeigh rented storage shed. Thereafter, they began gathering supplies, stealing 299 sticks of water-gel explosives, 544 blasting caps, and detonating cord from a quarry in Marion, Kansas, on October 1, 1994.
Nichols also purchased 5000 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer using the alias “Mike Havens, storing them in three rental storage units. In order to fund the bombing conspiracy, he also robbed an Arkansas gun dealer he knew.
By mid-April, 1995, everything was ready. On April 16, they drove to Oklahoma City to drop off the getaway car. Two days later, Nicholas helped McVeigh prepare the truck bomb at a lake near Herington. Thereafter he returned home to Kansas.
On April 19, 1995, McVeigh parked the bomb-loaded truck in front of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma. The bomb went off at 9:02 AM, damaging not only the north half of the building, but also three hundred nearby buildings, killing 168 people, injuring 684. McVeigh was arrested within two hours.
On 21 September, 1995, Nichols voluntarily went in for questioning at the Herington Police headquarters, declaring that he had come to know from the news that he was a material witness. After nine hours of questioning, he was eventually arrested in connection with the bombing.
Formally charged on May 10, 1995, he was indicted in August. His trial, which went on for three months, began in September 1997. On December, 24, 1997, he was acquitted of actually detonating the bomb; but was convicted of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and involuntary manslaughter.
On 4 June 1998, Nichols was labeled "an enemy of the Constitution" and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was sent to the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, where he is currently lodged.
Family & Personal Life
In 1980, Terry Nichols married Lana Padilla, a real estate broker, with whom he had a son called Joshua Isaac Nichols. The couple divorced in 1988, after which, Joshua was raised by his mother in Las Vegas. In March 2020, he was arrested on charges of armed robbery.
On November 20, 1990, Nichols married Marife Torres, a Pilipino he had met through a mail-order bride agency in the previous year. They have two children, a daughter named Nicole and a son named Christian. His wife and children are currently living in Philippines.