Skip to comments.Witness (Fortier) in Okla. City Bombing to Be Freed
Posted on 01/17/2006 10:01:16 PM PST by Rte66
OKLAHOMA CITY Michael Fortier, the prosecution's star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing trials, is scheduled to be released from federal prison Friday, victims' relatives said.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has notified family members of several bombing victims of Fortier's impending release, the relatives said Tuesday. He still must serve three years of supervised release. .....
(Excerpt) Read more at chron.com ...
Sure does. I'm not sure the families are thrilled by this development.
They may be divided, ambivalent, or forgiving, like some who were quoted. Of course, those may be the only two families who feel that way (forgiving), so their quotes were chosen. But you know how OKies can be.
Hope we hear from more of them.
He may still!
Technically he didn't have anything to do with it. His crime was that he learned of the plot and didn't tell anyone.
Tough call in these cases, but spending 8 years in prison and three more on parole probably is a fair sentence for someone who wasn't actually involved in the bombing plot. He's not a threat to society, just an idiot who put his loyalty to his friends above the safety of the public.
Still, I wouldn't cry over him if he had an accident, and I'm sure that if one of my kids had been in the daycare, I'd be plotting ways to get at this guy right now.
Why should he have to tell them something they already knew?
BTW, he has been in prison since August 1995. Here are some more comments from surviving victims/families in today's Daily Oklahoman (snipped):
Im not pleased, said widow Donna Hawthorne, whose husband, tire worker Thomas Hawthorne, 52, died visiting the Social Security Administration office in the federal building.
I hope he learned in jail to have better choices, said Hawthorne, 63, of Choctaw. He could have saved a lot of lives but choose not to. Thats not very much time, compared to like my husband, who is dead forever.
Michael Fortier has been held at an undisclosed location for the last part of his sentence. The Federal Bureau of Prisons told victims in the form letter that Fortier will be under supervision for three years after his release.
Victims were not told where Fortier intends to go upon his release. His attorney, Michael McGuire of Tulsa, also would not say.
Some victims called The Oklahoman to complain about his release.
He should have gotten life in prison, like Terry Nichols did. He really should have, said Jannie Coverdale of Oklahoma City whose grandsons, Aaron, 5, and Elijah, 2, died in the day-care center inside the federal building. Im just upset.
Addendum: He is still married to his wife Lori, who has been in the witness protection program since the plea agreement.
I guess we'll see if this guy has finally gotten his priorities straight. If he meets all of his obligations with the parole, keeps his nose clean and supports himself economically, it'd be a start.
That said, he still has a heavy burden to bear for the rest of his life.
Thanks for the PING
Wonder if he knows J. Padilla?
My husband said ABC news on Sirius said that Fortier not only was being held in an undisclosed prison all this time, but he is being released into witness protection.
WHO are they protecting him from, if the only 2 people involved in OKBOMB are dead and in prison for life??
Which brings us to another comment from a victim, added to the latest version of the same AP story this morning:
"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."
Are the feds going to say they are protecting Fortier from the victims and their families, and that is why he needs to be in witness protection? As my husband said, we don't protect criminals from victims, only from those they've testified against: cohorts.
I think hey may have taken a sweetheart deal as in hey we have you on charges x,y,and z unrelated to OKC you tell the jury that you were here and saw this you do a little time and we will take care of you. A lot of people with connections to this case have had accidents while in custody. Which makes you wonder who they really are covering for
At the time of Fortier's sentencing, the head of the victims' group, Paul Heath (quoted today just above in my post of this morning), stated that he hoped for both Fortier's sake and "ours" (the victims) that if he were to be released, that it not be in Oklahoma City. His Tulsa attorney stipulated that he would not be.
We can assume then that the Fortiers are being protected from themselves. FWIW, Lori Fortier had claimed that she was harrassed and her dog was killed in AZ because of their involvement. (Oh, boo hoo.) (I am sorry that a dog died, however.)
I'm having a hard time finding any specific language defining the reasoning behind their federal protection, precisely because it is secret.
However, I doubt if Hussain Al-Hussaini's name will pop up in there anywhere. (RIP my friend, Teddy R)
Thanks for the ping. Why is Bill Clinton the first thing that pops in my mind every time I think of the OKC bombing?
More samplings of comments from OKC victims/families today, ending with the barf alert topics last (snips):
"One of the victims of the bombing said she was shocked Michael Fortier was getting out and hoped he wouldn't lead a life of crime.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he gets right back into what he was into and get into trouble," said Janet Beck, a Social Security Administration claims representative who survived the blast. "That's my complaint against the justice system. They're so busy trying to control people, they don't do much in terms of education and helping them to readjust."
Martin Cash, a Veterans Administration employee who lost his left eye in the blast, was among the victims who filed a petition seeking to provide testimony at Fortier's 1998 sentencing.
"I understand the plea bargain, which was in order to get him to testify, but I think the plea bargain should have been, `We'll give you life instead of giving you the death penalty,'" said Cash, who retired from the VA in 1996. "I'm just sorry he's getting out."
Release of Figure in '95 Bombing Rekindles Fears
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
Published: January 19, 2006
"For a long time, the people of Oklahoma City knew it was coming: the day that Michael J. Fortier would get out of prison after serving time for his role in the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building that killed 168 people and injured more than 400.
But as Mr. Fortier's release on Friday approaches, the deal cut to secure his testimony against Timothy J. McVeigh and Terry L. Nichols is again gnawing at some of the survivors and relatives of the victims. They worry about a possible future threat posed by Mr. Fortier, 37, and the undisclosed terms of his release, in particular whether he will gain federal witness protection.
"It makes me nervous, it angers me, it frustrates me," said Dot Hill, who was working for the General Services Administration in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, and credits her survival to leaving her desk for coffee just as the bomb exploded outside.
"It's an agreement we have to stand by," Ms. Hill said in a telephone interview, "but it puts us on high alert again."
While unease over Mr. Fortier's release had been on the minds of survivors and relatives of victims for months, the Bureau of Prisons notification that reached many families on Tuesday caught them by surprise.
"I knew it was coming up, but I didn't know it would be the day before my birthday," said John Cole, who lost two godsons in the blast.
Mr. Cole said he considered Mr. Fortier and his wife culpable for not exposing the scheme. As a result, he said, "they should be right up there with Terry Nichols."
Ms. Hill, the survivor who took the coffee break, said she "was fine" with Mr. Fortier's plea bargain at the time it was reached, "but now that I know he's wandering around, I'm wondering, are they monitoring him because of his past and beliefs?"
"We don't know if any of that stuff has changed," she said.
Ken Thompson, external affairs director of the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, the organization in Oklahoma City formed to commemorate the victims, said he understood the consternation but did not fully share it.
"Most people understand that if it wasn't for him as a witness we might not have had these verdicts," said Mr. Thompson, whose mother was killed in the bombing.
Survivors Of Violent Crime Are Outraged At The Impending Early Release Of Convicted Oklahoma City Bombing Witness
January 18 2006
Survivors of violent crime across the nation are outraged at the impending early release of convicted Oklahoma City bombing witness Michael Fortier, scheduled for Friday, Jan. 20, 2006.
"Marsha Kight, mother of Frankie Merrell, who died in the blast, spoke with survivors and victims of crime across the nation, requesting support in her efforts to keep Fortier behind bars. She firmly believes that this is an insult to all of the victims and survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing if he is released under probation and that when a sentence is given by a judge, the time should actually be served. She also states that a mere 12 years and a $200,000 fine were hardly enough of a sentence for the 168 lives that were lost. Kight states that this is an outrage to all victims and survivors of crime and is just another abuse of crime victims by the criminal justice system.
And the rest of it ...
Lawyer Says Fortier Wants to See Family
Posted on Wed, Jan. 18, 2006
OKLAHOMA CITY - The government's star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing case is looking forward to spending time with family after serving his sentence, his attorney said Wednesday.
"Essentially, he has served about 85 percent of his sentence, which was all he was supposed to serve. He got no special favors or anything like that," McGuire said.
Fortier received three years of supervised release under federal sentencing guidelines, McGuire said.
"I think he's in a very strong, upbeat mood to be with his family and is looking forward to spending very personal time with them and getting resettled with them," McGuire said.
McGuire said Michael and Lori Fortier remain married and that she has remained in Arizona. McGuire would not comment on whether Fortier is part of a witness protection program.
"I think there are a lot of people that want to target him, but I'm not sure where Michael and his family will be, where it's safe for him to be," McGuire said.
McGuire and federal officials declined to reveal where Fortier had been incarcerated. As for Fortier's future, McGuire could only speculate.
"I don't think he's got all the answers yet," McGuire said. "He needs to spend some time with family to get those."
"A lawyer for Mr. Fortier said "the government is concerned" about the release as well.
"I am not able to answer questions on that," the lawyer, Mike McGuire, said of Mr. Fortier's possible inclusion in a witness protection program.
But, he added, "there's a real fear that some of these victims are still angry. That's why the government is concerned."
Mr. McGuire was appointed by a court and said he left Oklahoma City for Tulsa in 1996 after repeated harassment for taking the case.
Mr. McGuire would not say where Mr. Fortier had been incarcerated or where he and his wife, Lori, who also testified and has been living in Arizona with their two children, would go now. He described Mr. Fortier as "tremendously thrilled with the prospect of finally being released" and "excited about his future."
"He's going to put all his resources into providing for his family," Mr. McGuire said.
He said the Fortiers would not speak to reporters. Reached by phone, Mr. Fortier's mother, Irene, in Kingman, Ariz., said she had nothing to say and hung up."
Good story here, read all at link:
New life, identity await Fortier as he leaves prison
Key witness in Oklahoma bombing trials to go into protection program
09:00 PM CST on Wednesday, January 18, 2006
By ARNOLD HAMILTON / The Dallas Morning News
OKLAHOMA CITY On Friday, Michael Fortier will cease to exist.
The star prosecution witness against Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols is scheduled to be released after 10 ½ years in federal custody and ... vanish.
A new identity. A new hometown. A new life story.
Oklahoma bombing witness to be released from prison
By Karen Abbott, Rocky Mountain News
January 18, 2006
The man who knew about the Oklahoma City bombing plot in advance but never warned authorities will be released from prison Friday, his lawyer confirmed today.
Attorney Michael McGuire of Tulsa said the release of Michael Fortier is right on schedule and not earlier than it is supposed to be. Fortier was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
"With his good-time credit applied to his original sentence, he's not getting anything special or a reduction," McGuire said. "This is when he should be released."
But some survivors and victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing expected Fortier to spend another year and prison and don't think he should be let go.
"I don't like it," said Marsha Kight, now of St. Augustine, Fla. "I think he should have served more time than the twelve years, and then for him to be let go short of that time, I find that troubling."
Kight, whose daughter Frankie Merrell was killed in the bombing, is on the board of the National Victims Constitutional Amendment Network, which advocates for victims' rights.
[McGuire] said Fortier, now in his mid-30s, will be reunited with his wife and two children. The family has remained close, he said.
"I talked to him yesterday," McGuire said. "He's very eager to be re-united without the personal invasion that you have at a prison. He's just a guy who's on edge with all his emotions overflowing about being with his family, trying to move from the past and his accountability as a defendant in the case, to being a private citizen.
He said Fortier, who was working in a hardware store in Kingman, Ariz., when the bombing occurred, may get a job working with computers.
"He's a very smart person," McGuire said. "He's got a lot of potential."
Video of angry family members at link:
Did Fortier Really Pay His Debt?
Oklahoma City Bombing Conspirator To Be Released On Friday
POSTED: 9:40 am CST January 18, 2006
UPDATED: 8:30 pm CST January 18, 2006
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The news is beginning to set in on Wednesday for the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Convicted conspirator Michael Fortier will be released from prison in two days. While some victims understand his early release, others said they're stunned and angry.
"He made choices in his life that were contrary to what society says is the right thing. He's not paid for that. I don't belive he has," said Kathleen Treanor, who lost three relatives in the April 19, 1995, bombing in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.
Thanks for researching and posting those various articles. After reading them all it sure sounds as if he's going into witness protection, (with his wife no less... ) and from what I seem to be reading the reasoning is that it would be to protect them from victims of OKBOMB. I have no doubt there are those who wish to kill him themselves: but would they really act upon that? Most people - even those visited by these horrible tragedies that tear their loved ones from them with violence - do not become murderers themselves.
The "x, y, z" unrelated crimes/plea deal scenario does certainly sound feasible, but I still believe there is more to this crime than we have been told.
It does seem strange that this guy and his wife would be put into a WPP...any new info from Jayna Davis lately?
It creeps me out that the nice people, and I'm going to *assume* the majority of the victims/survivors/families are nice people, will have no earthly idea who or where Fortier is -- but he will know where all of them are, if he wants to.
Then I think about it again and realize any of the really, really bad guys who might also be out to get him will have their radar fine-tuned and they *will* know almost instantaneously who and where he is. Outlaws are just like that.
What I don't like is the possibility that the latter group *isn't* out to get him, but wants to welcome him back. Aye, there's the rub.
Surely Jayna Davis will be checking in somewhere, sometime soon about the Fortier release. Does she ever post here? I'm too new to know.
Last time a FReeper reported talking to her was 3 months ago--in Oct, relating to the OU suicide bomber Hinrichs. There have been a couple of things come up since then that would've benefited from her input, but I don't know her.
Her screen name is truthaboveall, and dougfromupland has interviewed her in the past.
"Technically he didn't have anything to do with it. His crime was that he learned of the plot and didn't tell anyone."
I guess this logic is sorta like:
Terrorist: "Hey Bin Laden, we are going to blow up the London Subway."
Bin Laden: "Wow, seriously?"
Terrorist: "Yeah, its gonna be great."
Bin Laden: "I see. Well,...don't get caught."
So, did anybody here have a new family move in next door today or a new co-worker join your company today?