Oklahoma City bombing trial judge Richard Matsch dies at 88

The Associated Press - May 28, 2019 11:06 am

FILE--Federal judge Richard Matsch stands for a photograph at the Federal Building in Denver in this December 8, 1995 file photo. On Wednesday, June 6, 2001 he will hear arguments on whether a foul-up by the FBI justifies a postponement of Timothy McVeigh's execution. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney, File)

DENVER (AP) – The no-nonsense federal judge who gained national respect overseeing the Oklahoma City bombing trials has died.

The clerk of Colorado’s federal court, Jeffrey Colwell, says U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch died on Sunday. He was 88.

Matsch was known for his cowboy hat and his short temper with courtroom antics.

As chief judge of the federal court in Denver, Matsch oversaw the 1996 trials that led to the convictions of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols after a judge ruled that neither could receive a fair trial in Oklahoma City.

Matsch imposed a gag order to prevent attorneys from trying their case outside the courthouse.

He received a liver transplant in 2001 after being diagnosed with a disorder that causes a buildup of fluid that can lead to infections.

 

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