A Guide to the Stephen Jones Oklahoma City Bombing Archive, 1798 - 2003 (Bulk 1995 - 1997)
Stephen Jones (born 1940) was appointed in May 1995 by the United States District Court in Oklahoma City to serve as the lead defense attorney for Timothy McVeigh in the criminal court case of United States of America v. Timothy James McVeigh and Terry Lynn Nichols. On April 19, 1995, two years to the day after the infamous Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms raid on the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas, a homemade bomb delivered inside of a Ryder rental truck was detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Timothy McVeigh, as well as his accomplice Terry Nichols, were accused of and, in 1997, found guilty of the crime, and McVeigh was executed in 2001. Terry Nichols is still serving his sentence of 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole in the ADX Florence super maximum-security prison in Florence, Colorado.
Stephen Jones was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, and grew up in Houston, Texas. He earned his law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1966 and made a life for himself in Enid, Oklahoma. A practicing trial lawyer since 1966, Jones has been an attorney in a number of high-profile cases, including a 1970 case where, after 12 other attorneys had rejected representation of the defendant, Jones agreed to represent University of Oklahoma student Keith Green. Green had been arrested for carrying a Viet Cong flag on campus after National Guardsmen had shot and killed four students at Kent State University. Jones was immediately fired from the law firm with which he had been employed for taking this case. In 1977 Jones represented Bobby Wayne Collins, on appeal from Collins’ conviction for the murder of a husband, wife, and their two young children (age 5 years and 18 months) in their farm home one mile north of Woodward, Oklahoma. Jones successfully had Collins’ death sentence reduced to a life sentence. In 1978, Jones was the lead attorney for Bobby Battle in Battle v. Anderson, the Oklahoma prison reform lawsuit. He declined any payment for this litigation, and inspired the Department of Justice under President Nixon and the FBI to intervene on the plaintiffs’ behalf.
Additionally, Jones represented 14 college professors who were wrongfully terminated from the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts and was able to get them their jobs back and compensatory damages. He has acted as counsel for the Republican State Committee, the Oklahoma Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, and numerous politicians including Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating. Jones has also been active in judicial, political, governmental and international service, as well as engaging in community and church volunteer service, and teaching.
Along with members of his law firm, Jones, Wyatt & Roberts, Stephen Jones represented Timothy McVeigh in the trial that stemmed from what was widely known as the largest criminal investigation on United States soil. From the beginning of his defense of McVeigh, Jones was convinced that there must have been “others unknown” involved in the bombing, either part of a government conspiracy or, more likely to Jones, some international terrorism involvement, and that the prosecution had given up on these other suspects. In 2001, Jones published a book, along with author Peter Israel, titled Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy, wherein he lays out his opinions that McVeigh and Nichols could not have been the only perpetrators of the crime that caused 168 people, including 19 children, to lose their lives, along with millions of dollars’ worth of damage to Oklahoma City.
Stephen Jones Oklahoma City Bombing Archive, 1798 – 2003 (Bulk 1995 – 1997), Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Jones, Stephen, and Peter Israel. Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy. New York: Public Affairs, 1998. Print.
"Stephen Jones (attorney)."Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 08 Oct. 2014.
The Stephen Jones Oklahoma City Bombing Archive contains approximately 620 linear feet of materials pertaining to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, the official investigation of the bombing (known as OKBOMB), the subsequent trial of United States of America v. Timothy James McVeigh and Terry Lynn Nichols, and to the authorship of Stephen Jones’ and Peter Israel’s book, Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy. This archive is arranged into three main series: (I), the Oklahoma City Bombing Trial (OKBOMB): Stephen Jones and defense team-generated and -collected materials; (II), Non-OKBOMB court documents and trials, which includes civil suits and appeals, as well as legal research and defense preparations on these court hearings; and (III), Stephen Jones and Peter Israel – Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy. Series III includes drafts and manuscripts of Jones’ and Israel’s book along with press releases and working files such as memos, conversations, and chronologies.
Records of special interest include correspondence and communications between McVeigh and Jones and other attorneys, including notes taken by both the defendant and the attorneys during court trials as well as notes and transcripts of conversations and interviews held at the sites of McVeigh’s incarceration; defense team preparations on investigations, evidence, and witnesses involved in the case; originals and copies of correspondence between McVeigh and friends and family members, both before, during, and after the trial; and previously sealed court documents that provide a clearer view of many facets of the trial. The collection also includes correspondence between prosecution and defense teams, especially with regard to the sharing of evidence and information through discovery, as well as documentation on media leaks, FBI lab contamination, other possible theories, and mistakes and accomplishments made throughout the course of the trial.
The major focus of the collection, Series I, involves documentation of and preparations by the defense team for the bombing trial, including trial transcripts, pleadings, hearings, and other court documents, as well as defense-generated investigations, working files, collected media and news articles, correspondence, and legal research.
Series I, subseries (d), Defense investigations, comprises the defense team’s investigations in preparation for the bombing trial. Part of these investigations involves research and documentation on domestic and international terrorism and on conspiracy and cover-up theories, which were applicable both to the case and to work on Jones’ and Israel’s book.
A large segment of Series I is government-produced, comprised of investigative files, evidence, and other materials shared with the defense team through the discovery process. Discovery evidence with notations or other signs of review by the defense team can be found under Series I(e), Discovery evidence, (iii)(a), Defense working files and reviews on discovery evidence. Series I(e)(iii)(b), Discovery evidence from prosecution, includes FBI 302s, inserts, and actual evidence not containing notations by the defense team. Many of these boxes are restricted due to privacy and other legal concerns. However, throughout the defense team’s investigations and preparations, they made copies of FBI 302s, inserts, and other government-collected evidence that they deemed to be pertinent or worth investigating. These copies can be found in multiple locations in Series I, such as in with investigative files, attorney-client correspondence, and reviews on discovery files, and they have been redacted and cleared for access.
Defense working files, subseries I(f), documents all of the non-investigative work that the defense team did in preparation for the defense of Timothy McVeigh, pertaining to witnesses, exhibits, jury preparations, and the FBI laboratory, among others.
To the extent possible, delineated sections organized and named by the defense team as the records were created have been kept true to form. Examples include the McVeigh Finding Aids, Most Sensitive McVeigh Materials, Financials, and Andrew Murphy files.
Researchers will note that materials that pertain to the same subject may be found in multiple series or subseries. For example, materials relating to the motion to get the trial moved from Oklahoma to Denver for a more impartial hearing can be found in court documents (pleadings, motions, and hearing transcripts), in defense working files on exhibits (including oversize exhibits), and in defense working files – preparation for court hearings and legal research.
Social Security Numbers
Every effort was made to redact Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and other sensitive materials pertaining to living persons. The Social Security Death Index (SSDI), required by the Freedom of Information Act, publicly lists people who have died since 1936 who had a SSN and whose death has been reported to the Social Security Administration. In 2011, Ancestry.com, a major source of searches of such information, changed their access to the SSDI and stopped displaying the Social Security information of people who have died within the past 10 years. Using this as an example, only the SSNs of people still living, or who have died within the past 10 years have been redacted. Also not redacted are the SSNs of Timothy McVeigh (who died in 2001) and of “Bob Kling”, an alias used by Timothy McVeigh with a fake SSN.
Sterman, Joce (2011-12-14). "Website stops displaying Social Security numbers for recently dead". Baltimore: ABC2. Retrieved 2014-4-18.
Grand Jury Materials
According to Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Grand Jury testimonies must remain restricted indefinitely, unless clearly marked for a court trial exhibit or shared in exculpatory portion format. Thus, all full testimonies in front of the Grand Jury that were not labeled as court trial exhibits have been separated and restricted. The materials pertaining to the Grand Jury found in box 2003-055/356 (under defense working files on jury and Grand Jury preparations) are open for research and include exculpatory portions, memos, correspondence, and defense working files on the Grand Jury.
Many of the born digital files received with this collection are in outdated proprietary formats and cannot be opened on modern machines. The Stephen Jones Oklahoma City Bombing Archive page on the University of Texas Digital Repository (UTDR) has links to those files that are accessible, along with a copy of this inventory and selected scanned indices and guides to the collection, curated by the archivist with the intention of assisting in research and access.
This collection is open for research use. Portions are restricted due to privacy concerns. See Archivist's Note for more details.
Use of DAT and Beta tapes by appointment only; please contact repository for more information.
This collection is stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
Stephen Jones Oklahoma City Bombing Archive, 1798 - 2003 (Bulk 1995 - 1997), Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Jessi Fishman, 2014.
Stephen Jones Oklahoma City Bombing Archive