OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Two Oklahoma County reserve deputy sheriffs said yesterday a congressman told them the night of the bombing, “We knew this was going to happen, we blew it.”
David Kochendorfer and Don Hammons, the two reserve officers, say Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., made the statement about advance knowledge of the bombing.
“We got word through our sources that there is a radical fundamental Islamic group in Oklahoma City and that they were going to bomb the federal building,” Kulkendorfer recalled Istook saying.
Hammonds said a photographer with Istook, Lana Tyree, confirmed to him that Istook was aware of a bomb threat against the federal building since April 9.
Both Tyree and Istook later denied making the statements and having any knowledge of the bombing beforehand.
“I certainly didn’t,” said Istook. “I know of nobody in government that had any advance knowledge.”
Kulkendorfer and Hammonds earlier had testified for several hours before the county grand jury investigating the possibility of a broader conspiracy to bomb the Murrah federal building. The district attorney in Oklahoma City plans to file 160 state murder charges in the Oklahoma bombing and seek the death penalty against Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, despite their federal court convictions.
The charges will cover the victims other than the eight federal agents whose deaths were the basis of McVeigh and Nichols’ federal trials.
District Attorney Robert Macy has said the state charges are aimed at making sure McVeigh and Nichols get the death penalty. McVeigh was given the death penalty at his federal trial. Nichols’ life was spared last week.
Macy has said he can prosecute without violating the men’s constitutional protection against double jeopardy because the federal and state judicial systems are separate.
“No doubt about it. He can,” said Rick Tepker, a University of Oklahoma law professor. “The state of Oklahoma is regarded as a separate sovereignty for purposes of double jeopardy and can enforce its own laws.”