WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court isn't going to save Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols from a second trial that could bring him the death penalty.
The High Court without comment refused to consider Nichols' claim that being tried in a state court after already being convicted in a federal court would be unconstitutional.
Nichols has already been convicted on federal charges of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter for his role in the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people. Oklahoma wants to try him on state charges of 160 counts of first-degree murder for the same act.
The April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 and injured more than 500, was at the time the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil.
Justices refused in October to consider arguments that an FBI flub involving evidence affected Nichols' federal trial. Last spring Nichols lost an appeal of his 1997 conviction.
Nichols is serving a life sentence on the federal charges. Timothy McVeigh, the bombing's mastermind, was executed in June.
In arguing that a state trial would amount to double jeopardy, Nichols' lawyer, Brian Hermanson, said that federal and state officers and prosecutors worked together on Nichols' first trial.
"The power and majesty of the federal sovereign and a state sovereign were conjoined in a massive criminal law enforcement enterprise which at first worked jointly to convict Mr. Nichols, and now seeks to separate one from the other to try him again for the same offenses," Hermanson wrote.
He said the two "seek to step apart from one another in order 'to take a second bite at the apple.'"
Oklahoma prosecutors said they planned all along to follow the federal trial — regardless of the outcome — with a state trial.
"Although [Nichols] alleges that this was a 'massive, well-funded and sophisticated joint federal-state law enforcement enterprise,' they have failed to prove that it was a joint enterprise in any form or fashion," Oklahoma prosecutor John Jacobsen wrote in the government's case.
Hermanson said the government charges are similar to ones of which Nichols was acquitted by a federal jury.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.