Nichols Prosecution Ready to Wrap

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DENVER: After three weeks of testimony, prosecutors have managed to link Terry Nichols to stolen weapons from an Arkansas arms dealer and to several transactions with Timothy McVeigh the week before the bombing. But evidence directly linking Nichols to the bombing remains weak.

Prosecutors have contended that Nichols stole weapons, coins, precious gem stones and $6,900 in cash from gun dealer Roger Moore, and used the proceeds to fund the bombing. FBI agents found guns stolen from Moore's collection in Nichols' home and a ski mask similar to the one used in the robbery at a storage unit Nichols rented in Las Vegas.

But on the witness stand, Moore laughed when he heard the government's theory. He pointed out that the robbery occurred after the period in which prosecutors say McVeigh and Nichols had already purchased or stolen the components of the bomb.

Nichols was tripped up on some of his testimony. Previously, he had told FBI agents he had not seen McVeigh between February and April 16 of 1995, the Sunday before the bombing. Nichols had a cash register receipt from Wal-Mart in his wallet dated April 13, 1995, that belonged to McVeigh. The receipt had both men's finger prints on it.

Apparently, McVeigh had given the receipt to Nichols along with a $3 oil filter which Nichols returned at Wal-Mart on April 15, 1995, the day before he said he had seen McVeigh.

Prosecutors are likely to finish their case by early next week. Nicholsí lawyers are perusing a list of 396 potential witness to testify on his behalf.