Langan to testify at Nichols trial, name others in OKC bombing
By J.D. Cash
Copyright 2004, McCurtain Daily Gazette
That stunning revelation came after an attorney for Nichols spent 5½ hours in prison Tuesday with Peter K. Langan Jr., an inmate serving a life sentence for bank robbery and weapons violations.
In a late night phone call from a federal facility in Jonesville, Va., Langan confirmed to this newspaper that he has been placed on the witness list for the upcoming mass-murder trial of Terry Nichols. That trial is set to begin with jury selection in early March.
Nichols is facing 161 counts of first-degree murder as a result of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building on April 19, 1995.
In a tape-recorded interview with this newspaper, Langan said Tuesday that he did not want to discuss specific details of his expected testimony in the Nichols' case, but he did make the stunning admission that he would tie several men to the bombing conspiracy and at least one other crime in which the government has previously alleged Nichols was involved.
Members of the legal team representing Nichols are under a gag order and unable to comment on Langan's statements.
Langan was a leader of a gang of neo-Nazi bank bandits that robbed at least 22 banks in seven Midwestern states during the mid-90s.
Dubbed the Midwestern bank bandits by the FBI, the gang actually called itself the Aryan Republican Army (ARA). The gang's stated goal was the forceful overthrow of the government.
The FBI believes that beginning in January 1994, gang members were responsible for a string of bank robberies intended to finance the violent overthrow of the government through acts of terrorism.
The FBI eventually seized a videotape made by the gang where a plan was discussed to attack a federal building.
The FBI later determined that the tape was made in January 1995, just weeks before an explosion ripped open the Oklahoma City federal building in downtown Oklahoma City, killing 168.
Immediately after the tape was made, the FBI says at least four members of the ARA left their "safe house" in Pittsburg, Kan., traveling to Arizona where they disappeared into the desert for several weeks.
At this same time, evidence the FBI uncovered shows that Timothy McVeigh returned to Arizona to pick up explosives the government says were stored in Kingman.
Other evidence published in the past by this newspaper clearly indicates there are substantial links between members of Langan's gang, Elohim City - a paramilitary compound near Muldrow - and McVeigh.
The government has previously said they investigated any links between McVeigh and persons in Langan's gang and were unable to find concrete evidence that anyone but Nichols and McVeigh were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Briefly explaining the scope of his expected testimony, Langan indicated that he will provide evidence to the jury that will tie McVeigh and the bomb plot to several men with very close connections to the white supremacist enclave called Elohim City.
Among those Langan said he would implicate are White Aryan Resistance leader Dennis Mahon; a former paramilitary trainer at Elohim City, Andreas Strassmeir; former Aryan Nations leader Mark Thomas; and former ARA members Michael Brescia and Kevin McCarthy.
Mahon is believed to be living in Arizona now. The former KKK leader was the target of an investigation by the Tulsa office of the ATF before and after the bombing.
Evidence collected by ATF informant Carol E. Howe disclosed conversations she says she participated in where Mahon and Strassmeir discussed plans to attack federal installations in Oklahoma.
During the Nichols trial in Denver, Colo., Howe testified that she saw McVeigh walking with Strassmeir at Elohim City before the bombing.
Bob Ricks, former FBI special agent in charge of the Oklahoma City office, has stated that he intervened with then-U.S. Attorney Steve Lewis of Tulsa and stopped the planned arrest of Strassmeir before the bombing.
Ricks has said he hoped to avoid a raid on Elohim City because of expected casualties.
Likely to support Langan's testimony in McAlester are FBI records presented at Nichols' Denver bombing trial that show a phone call was made from a motel room in Arizona before the bombing to Elohim City.
The April 5, 1995 call was made seconds after a Ryder Truck rental agency was contacted by phone also.
The government has said McVeigh was seeking information on truck sizes when he made the phone call to the truck rental office in Arizona. Days later a Ryder rental truck was rented in central Kansas that delivered the bomb that destroyed the federal building.
While Strassmeir and Mahon have never been charged for any act of terrorism, McCarthy, Brescia and Thomas served short prison sentences for various roles in the ARA crime spree. Each shared close connections to Elohim City at the time of the bombing.
Langan is expected to testify that blasting caps and other physical items of evidence seized by the FBI after gang members were arrested would link elements of the ARA to the bombing in Oklahoma, as well as a gun robbery in November 1994, near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The FBI has alleged that Nichols perpetrated the robbery of gun collector Roger Moore in order to finance the Oklahoma bomb plot.
Langan is also expected to testify that members of his gang perpetrated the Arkansas gun robbery, not Nichols.