The jury said John Doe No. 2 is most likely Todd Bunting, a U.S. Army soldier who went to Elliott's Body Shop in Junction City, Kan., on April 18, 1995. A day earlier, McVeigh had gone to Elliott's and picked up the Ryder truck he used in the Murrah building bombing. Bunting went to Elliott's with Michael Hertig.
"The similarity of Mr. Hertig to the composite of John Doe No. 1 and the similarity of Todd Bunting to the composite of John Doe No. 2 are remarkable, particularly when you take into account Bunting's tattoo of a Playboy bunny on his upper left arm and the fact that he was wearing a black T-shirt and a Carolina Panthers ball cap when he was at Elliott's Body Shop,'' said the report.
Eldon Elliott, the owner of Elliott's Body Shop, the Ryder rental outlet in Junction City, Kan., and Tom Kessinger, a mechanic there, insisted that ''Robert Kling,'' who paid $280 cash and said he did not need insurance because he was a careful driver, was, in fact, Mr. McVeigh.
In the first of two days of pretrial hearings before Judge Richard P. Matsch of Federal District Court, the credibility of both men was called into question by Stephen Jones, Mr. McVeigh's lawyer, who wants their testimony and that of seven others barred.
Pretrial publicity, Mr. Jones argued, has irretrievably tainted their ability to make an honest identification of Mr. McVeigh, who is charged with the bombing. Terry L. Nichols, was also charged and will be tried separately, and his lawyers also asked that the testimony of some witnesses be excluded. The defense is expected to argue that Mr. Kling was someone else.
Mr. Kessinger has already conceded that he had made a mistake when he said the square-jawed man who came to be known as John Doe No. 2 had accompanied Mr. McVeigh. The man he described was actually Pvt. Todd Bunting of the Army, who rented a truck a day later and had no connection with the bombing.
Today, under an onslaught of questions from Mr. Jones, Mr. Kessinger said he was absolutely certain that the man he described as John Doe No. 1 was Mr. McVeigh.
Speaking publicly for the first time, Mr. Kessinger said he was sitting in the back of the truck rental office, taking a break at about 4:15 P.M. on Monday, April 17, 1995, when he saw two men come into the shop. They stood at the counter and began speaking with Vicki Beemer, who handled the paperwork that day.
Mr. Kessinger noticed Mr. McVeigh, he said, because of something Mr. McVeigh said, which was not disclosed in court, and he watched the two men for about 10 minutes.
His first conversation with Scott Crabtree, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation was at 4:45 P.M. on April 19, the day the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed, Mr. Kessinger said.
Today Mr. Elliott said he was alone in the rental office on Saturday, April 15, when a man who called himself Robert Kling came in at about 9 A.M. to reserve a large Ryder truck he said he wanted to drive to Nebraska and then on to Iowa.
''I asked him if he needed more miles,'' Mr. Elliott said. ''He said no, but he wanted more days.'' He didn't want insurance, Mr. Elliott said, because he said ''I'm not going very far, I'm used to driving trucks out of Fort Riley, and I'm a careful driver.''
The rental, for which Mr. McVeigh paid cash in advance took ''5 to 10 minutes at most,'' Mr. Elliott said. The customer wanted the truck ready at 4 o'clock on Monday afternoon, and ''I said the truck will be ready.''
On April 17, Mr. Elliott said, he walked into the rental office and ''saw Mr. Kling five feet away. I walked up to him and asked him again about insurance. Another person was standing there. I glanced at him.''
''I walked between the two of them,'' Mr. Elliott recalled, when he went out to inspect the truck. The second man was shorter than Mr. McVeigh, Mr. Elliott said, but he can remember nothing else about the second man except his ''white hat with blue lightning bolts on the side.''
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