Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fortier To Walk As A Free Man


Man Tied to Okla. City Bombing to Be Freed
By SEAN MURPHY, Associated Press Writer

Michael Fortier, the prosecution's star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing trials, will be freed this week after serving less than 11 years of a 12-year sentence.

Survivors of the 1995 attack and relatives of the 168 victims received a one-page form letter from the Bureau of Prisons this week indicating Fortier's release date of Friday.

"He's the luckiest man in the world," said Paul Heath, who was on the fifth floor of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building when the bomb exploded outside. "Fortier, by being willing to do a plea bargain, won the Powerball lottery of the justice system."

Messages left with the Bureau of Prisons were not immediately returned.

As part of his deal with prosecutors, Fortier testified against bombing conspirators Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols at their federal trials and later at Nichols' state murder trial. He was sentenced to 12 years and ordered to pay $200,000 in fines.

Fortier's sentence likely was shortened because of good behavior and for time served before his formal sentence in 1998, said Irven Box, an attorney who covered the trial as a legal analyst for KWTV in Oklahoma City.

McVeigh was executed June 11, 2001. Nichols was convicted on both federal and state charges and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Family members of some bombing victims say Fortier's role in the April 19, 1995, plot was peripheral and they believe justice was served.

"I think he's served enough time," said Bud Welch, whose daughter Julie was killed while she worked at the Social Security office in the building. "I hope he's in line to be a good citizen now."

Jim Denny, whose two children were seriously injured in the bombing, said he also believes Fortier should be released.

"McVeigh already got his punishment, and Nichols will be in prison for the rest of his life," Denny said. "Let this guy get out and get on with his life."

Fortier, 37, and his wife, Lori, both testified against McVeigh and Nichols and acknowledged assisting the two in their plan to blow up the building, said McVeigh's attorney, Stephen Jones.

"It's intellectually indefensible to say that they weren't conspirators, because they were. Their own testimony indicates that," Jones said. "They knew the date, time and place of the bombing and both of them assisted materially."

Jones said Lori Fortier testified that she helped make a false identification card that McVeigh used to rent the truck used in the bombing. Lori Fortier was granted complete immunity for her testimony and never served any prison time.


  1. Link? You obviously copied and pasted this article from somewhere.

  2. Yes it was, Matt - I incorporated it when I posted the article this morning.

  3. I am not sure how I feel about Fortier getting off so easy. One hundred and sixty eight people died - and he and his wife could have prevented this. I just don't think this is enough penalty for that.

    I realize that he made a bargain - but there is so much surrounding that whole OKC bombing which has never been explained. I have talked to a number of people who claim that Fortier was much more involved than we will ever know.

  4. Agreed, Nikki. He provided material and collateral assistance.

    Heck, people get life in prison for driving getaway cars for someone who committed murder, even if they did not know the true intent of their accomplices.

  5. Black and white, eh Matt?

    I am unaware (nor do I care) what his ethinicity is, Nikki. I think he cut a slick deal for his testimony and he should have served a lengthier sentence for his role in this crime.



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