First Witness Takes Stand In OKC Bomb Plot Trial

Wednesday, February 13th 2019, 10:46 pm
By: Clayton Cummins

The trial of a man accused of trying to blow up an Oklahoma City bank continued Wednesday, February 13. 

Jerry Drake Varnell was arrested August 12, 2017, after allegedly trying to detonate a van, he thought, was rigged with a 1,000-pound bomb outside of the BancFirst location in the 100 block of North Broadway.

See Related Story: Timeline Of Events Leading To Arrest Of OKC Bombing Suspect

Varnell has plead not guilty to charges of attempted use of an explosive drive and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Investigates say Varnell was angry with government.

In court, Brent Elisens, the man who tipped the FBI off, took the stand.  Elisens met Varnell in 2015 through Craigslist and agreed to work with the FBI, because of the risk of innocent people getting hurt.

Audio and video recordings are being used as evidence.

Elisens and Varnell, both with mental health issues, mainly communicated through Facebook and text messages. Many of them were encrypted.

Audio recordings played in court revealed Varnell was talking about logistics and how to transport items.

During testimony, Elisans received he was paid about $23,050 to work undercover with the FBI.

The defense argues Varvell was entrapped.

Friends of Varnell say he is a young man just battling schizophrenia and drug addiction. They say the FBI could have handled the situation much differently.

Read Related Story: OKC Bombing Plot Suspect’s Family Speaks Out

The trial is expected to last over a week.

Varnell could be sentenced to as many as 20 years behind bars if convicted.