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xx Shootings In Atlanta Court Room
« Thread started on: Mar 11th, 2005, 12:55pm »

ATLANTA - A judge presiding over a rape trial was shot to death Friday along with two other people at the Fulton County Courthouse, authorities said. A fourth person was critically wounded and a search was under way for the suspect, the defendant in the trial.

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Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor confirmed that Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and his court reporter were killed. He gave no other details in announcing the deaths in the state Senate. A deputy died later at a hospital, authorities said.
Witnesses said the gunman carjacked a car and authorities were searching for a green Honda Accord that was hijacked from a newspaper reporter.
Fulton County Sheriff's Lt. Clarence Huber identified the suspect as 33-year-old Brian Nichols, who was on trial on rape and other charges stemming from an incident in August.
It was not immediately known how the suspect got a gun, but county employee Ali Lamei said he was told by officers that the prisoner grabbed a sheriff's sergeant's gun while he was being escorted.
"We heard some noise. It sounded like three or four shots. At the time, we thought it was just an engine backfiring," said Chuck Cole, a civil defense attorney who was in an adjoining parking deck when he heard gunfire at around 9:10 a.m.
Barnes was hearing civil cases at the time of the shooting, and Nichols' trial was set to resume in the afternoon, district attorney's office spokesman Erik Friedly said.
After Nichols obtained the gun, "it's my understanding he made his way into the courtroom on his own," Friedly said. It's not unusual for defendants to be brought to the courthouse in the morning to wait in a holding area for sessions later in the day, he said.

A sheriff's deputy died at Grady Hospital of a wound to the abdomen and a second, a woman, was being treated for a head wound, hospital officials said. She was in critical condition but expected to survive, they said.

"I saw one person on the street that they were performing CPR on," said court reporter Amy McKee.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newsroom staff was told that Don O'Briant, a features reporter for the paper, was beaten by the suspect and carjacked outside the courthouse. Mike King, an editorial board member for the paper, said O'Briant was taken to Grady.
All the judges in the building were locked in their chambers. The courthouse and other buildings in downtown Atlanta were on lockdown. Schools around the area were also on lockdown.
Traffic in the blocks surrounding the courthouse was backed up as police cruisers flooded the area looking for the suspect. More than 2 1/2 hours after the shooting, the suspect remained at large.
James Bailey, a juror at Nichols' trial, said the jury was not in the courtroom at the time of the shooting. Bailey said Nichols had made him and other jurors nervous. "Every time he looked up, he was staring at you," Bailey said. He said Barnes was the presiding judge.


Barnes was named to the Fulton County Superior Court bench in 1998.


Among cases he handled was the fatal 2003 car wreck by hockey star Dany Heatley that killed 25-year-old teammate Dan Snyder. Heatley pleaded guilty and was sentenced Feb. 4 to three years on probation and ordered to give 150 speeches about the dangers of speeding.


Barnes, 64, also drew attention last month when he took the unusual step of ordering a mother of seven who pleaded guilty to killing her 5-week-old daughter to undergo a medical procedure that would prevent her from having more children.





The shooting happened 11 days after the husband and elderly mother of a federal judge in Chicago were shot to death in her home. A man whose medical malpractice lawsuit was dismissed by the judge committed suicide and left a note saying he was the killer.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=2&u=/ap/20050311/ap_on_re_us/courthouse_shooting
« Last Edit: Mar 17th, 2005, 05:45am by FindCarrie » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Suspect Shoots and Kills 3 in Georgia Court Ro
« Reply #1 on: Mar 11th, 2005, 11:10pm »

Posted on Fri, Mar. 11, 2005

Courthouse killer still at large

HARRY WEBER

Associated Pres


ATLANTA - A man being escorted into court for his rape trial Friday stole a deputy's gun, killed the judge and two other people and carjacked a reporter's vehicle to escape, setting off a massive manhunt and creating widespread chaos across Atlanta, police said.

Hundreds of officers in cruisers and helicopters swarmed the area in the search of the suspect, identified as 33-year-old Brian Nichols. The former computer technician had been on trial for rape, burglary and other charges stemming from an August incident involving an ex-girlfriend.

The rampage led to chaos around the city, with schools, restaurants and office buildings locking down amid fears that the suspect might strike again. Nichols' mug shot was plastered all over TV screens, and highway message boards issued descriptions of the stolen vehicle.

"Mr. Nichols is considered armed and extremely dangerous and should not be approached," Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freeman said. "We are not going to rest until we find him."

Nichols got the gun by overpowering the female deputy while he was being led down a corridor in the Fulton County Courthouse, Assistant Police Chief Alan Dreher said. After shooting the deputy in the face, the suspect then went to the courtroom, held about a dozen people at bay for a short time and shot and killed the judge and a court reporter, he said.

Another deputy was later killed outside the Atlanta courthouse when he confronted the suspect, Dreher said. The deputy shot while leading Nichols to court survived, but details about her condition were not immediately known.

Authorities said Nichols then pistol-whipped a reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, stole his green 1997 Honda Accord and sped away.

"When he had the gun in my face, you start to think, `How can I stay alive.' I thought this was a routine carjack. I didn't know two people other were killed," said Don O'Briant, a features writer for the paper.

Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor confirmed that Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and his court reporter were among the dead.

The shootings occurred after the judge and prosecutors had requested extra security for deputies after investigators found a shank in each of Nichols' shoes Thursday, prosecutor Gayle Abramson said. She said Nichols apparently fashioned the shanks from a door knob.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he did not know what exactly was done in the way of stepped-up security, but said the deputies were receptive to their request. Dreher said that there were no other officers other than the female deputy assisting with taking Nichols to court. The law requires that defendants on trial not be handcuffed as they enter the courtroom, to make sure the sight of cuffs doesn't unfairly influence the jury.

The shootings occurred shortly after 9 a.m. Friday - the fourth day of Nichols' trial. Nichols had been facing a re-trial on charges of rape, sodomy, burglary, and false imprisonment, among others, after his earlier trial ended in a hung jury a week ago.

"I think he probably realized ... he might be convicted this time, he might not have a chance to walk out," Howard said. "We believe he came here with the intent to make sure that didn't happen."

In the rape case, Nichols was accused of bursting into his ex-girlfriend's home, binding her with duct tape and sexually assaulting her over three days. Howard said Nichols brought a loaded machine gun into the home and a cooler with food in case he was hungry.

Nichols, who had been jailed for the last six months, had faced a possible life prison sentence if convicted for rape.

Nichols' last known job was working as a computer technician for a subsidiary of Atlanta-based shipping giant UPS. Company spokesman Norm Black says Nichols joined the unit in March 2004 and left in September 2004, which was when he was arrested.

More than 100 state troopers and officers from several agencies, including the FBI, were assisting in the search, but there were few leads, said G.D. Stiles, a Fulton County deputy chief. Offers of help from officers on their days off were pouring in.

Telephone and e-mail requests for comment to Nichols' attorney, Barry M. Hazen, were not immediately returned Friday.

Barnes was known for his personable approach to justice and his sense of humor, and members of Georgia's legal community expressed shock by the news.

Among the recent cases that Barnes handled was the sentencing of Atlanta Thrashers player Dany Heatley, who pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in the death of a teammate.

Barnes, 64, also drew national attention last month when he approved a plea deal that required a mother of seven who pleaded guilty to killing her 5-week-old daughter to have a medical procedure that would prevent her from having more children.

"We're shook to the core," said Linda Dreyer, a longtime employee in the court administrator's office who knew Barnes.

"This is a profound shock. It's so unthinkable, it's like a 9-11 at the courthouse," said fellow Judge Craig Schwall.

James Bailey, a juror at Nichols' trial, said the jury was not in the courtroom at the time of the shooting. He said Nichols had made him and other jurors nervous. "Every time he looked up, he was staring at you," Bailey said.



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xx Police Capture Atlanta Slayings Suspect
« Reply #2 on: Mar 12th, 2005, 11:12am »

ATLANTA - A man accused of killing three people at a courthouse was captured Saturday at an apartment complex hours after a U.S. Customs agent was discovered shot to death miles away, officials said.


Brian Nichols, 33, was captured after a daylong manhunt following the killing of a judge and two other people at a downtown courthouse, Glenn Richardson, speaker of the Georgia House, announced on the House floor.


Police searching for Nichols said a Customs agent was discovered shot to death in north Atlanta on Saturday, and his blue pickup truck, pistol and badge were missing.


A black sports utility vehicle, escorted by multiple police cars with lights flashing and sirens on, left the complex at about 11:45 a.m. A crowd of people across the street began cheering as the motorcade passed.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=1&u=/ap/20050312/ap_on_re_us/courthouse_shooting



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xx Re: Suspect Who Killed 3 in Atlanta Court Room Cau
« Reply #3 on: Mar 12th, 2005, 11:11pm »

Atlanta Slayings Suspect Surrenders
By RUSS BYNUM


DULUTH, GA. - The suspect in the courthouse shootings of a judge and two other people waved a white cloth and surrendered to authorities Saturday, but not before police say he killed an immigration agent and held a woman hostage for hours in her own apartment.

Brian Nichols, 33, set off a massive manhunt in the Atlanta area after he allegedly overpowered a court deputy Friday, took her gun and fatally shot three people, including the judge on his rape case.

During the night, Nichols approached a woman as she entered her suburban Atlanta apartment and introduced himself as a wanted man, authorities said.

"It's my understanding that he had told her, 'If you do what I say, I won't kill you,'" Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said.

The woman either escaped or was allowed to leave and called 911. A SWAT team gathered outside and Nichols turned himself in after watching the manhunt on television, Gwinnett County Police Chief Charles Walters said.

"He literally waved a white flag or a T-shirt and came out to our folks," Walters said.

The arrest came hours after a construction worker found the body of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent David Wilhelm, who had been shot to death about 15 miles away inside a house that the agent was having built. His blue pickup truck, pistol and badge were missing.

FBI spokesman Steve Lazarus said Nichols was a suspect in that shooting, and police said the truck was found at a location other than the complex where Nichols was arrested, but did not elaborate.

As Nichols was taken into federal custody, a crowd of people cheered across the street from the apartment complex where he was arrested. They watched as a black sport utility vehicle drove away, escorted by multiple police cars with lights flashing and sirens wailing.

Prosecutors said Nichols could appear in federal court as early as Monday to face a charge of possession of a firearm by a person under indictment, the charge authorities are using to keep him in custody while they investigate the slayings.

The killings came less than two weeks after a Chicago federal judge's husband and mother were slain in their home, setting off a fresh round of worries about the safety of judges and others involved in the criminal justice system.

The day before the shootings, the judge and prosecutors in Nichols' case requested extra security after investigators found a shank _ or homemade knife _ fashioned from a doorknob in each of Nichols' shoes, prosecutor Gayle Abramson said.

Officials did not say what measures were taken to beef up security, but said deputy Cynthia Hall was alone when she escorted Nichols to his retrial on rape and other charges Friday. Law requires that defendants not be handcuffed as they enter the courtroom to make sure the sight of cuffs doesn't unfairly influence the jury.

"Anytime security has been asked for, we have provided it," Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freeman told reporters Saturday.

Nichols allegedly overpowered Hall, took her gun and shot her in the head. She remained in critical condition Saturday, but hospital officials said she was expected to survive.

Nichols then went to the courtroom where his case was being heard and allegedly killed the judge presiding over the case and a court reporter. As he escaped the courthouse, he fatally shot a deputy who confronted him, officials said.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Don O'Briant was getting out of his car in a nearby parking garage when Nichols allegedly pulled a gun, demanded his keys and told him to get in the trunk.

O'Briant refused and started to run.

"I figured it was better to be shot at while I was running than to just stand there and be executed," O'Briant wrote in Saturday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The man pistol whipped him as he tried to escape. O'Briant fell, but got up and ran again.

"I scrambled into the street, waiting for the shots to come, but they didn't come," he wrote. "I guess it just wasn't my day to die."

Throughout Friday, police said they were looking for the reporter's green Honda Accord, and highway message boards across the state issued descriptions of the vehicle. But the car was found later that night in the same parking garage where Nichols stole it.

Police said Nichols attempted more hijackings, and it was suspected that Nichols had stolen another vehicle from the same parking garage. Authorities would not comment on whether Wilhelm may have been carjacked at the garage.

Nichols eventually escaped the city's downtown by taking a train to north Atlanta. Police Chief Richard Pennington said Nichols assaulted a couple near the train station late Friday, brandishing a gun and asking if they had money or a vehicle before striking one of them in the face with the gun and fleeing.

Wilhelm was shot and killed sometime between that assault and the hostage taking at the apartment complex, which police would only say occurred "during the night."

Ned Cronan, 73, who lives across the street from where authorities found Wilhelm's body, said he's heard gunshots in the area before, but none Friday night or Saturday morning.

"I don't think they killed him there," he said.

Nichols faced a life sentence if convicted in his retrial. His earlier trial was declared a mistrial on Monday when jurors voted 8-4 for acquittal.

The retrial had started Tuesday, and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he was determined to resume that trial next week.

Nichols was accused of bursting into his ex-girlfriend's home with a loaded machine gun, binding her with duct tape and sexually assaulting her over three days. Howard said Nichols brought a cooler of food in case he was hungry. Nichols claimed the pair had consensual sex.

"My guts tell me he faced a greater chance of conviction in the second trial," his attorney, Barry Hazen, told a local television station.

At the state Capitol, just down the street from the courthouse, Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson announced Nichols' arrest Saturday on the House floor as flags flew at half-staff during a rare weekend session.

"It ended the best way this could end," said Walters, the police chief. "The public can be relieved that he is off the street
http://www.thetimesonline.com/articles/2005/03/12/ap/headlines/d88pqh400.txt
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xx Re: Suspect Who Killed 3 in Atlanta Court Room Cau
« Reply #4 on: Mar 14th, 2005, 05:45am »

Ga. Woman Held Hostage Describes Ordeal
By DANIEL YEE


ATLANTA - For hours, Ashley Smith gently talked to the armed suspect in Atlanta's courthouse slayings, turning from hostage to confidant as they discussed God, family, pancakes and the massive manhunt going on outside her apartment.

"I believe God brought him to my door," Smith said Sunday, only hours after her 911 call ended a manhunt for Brian Nichols, who is accused of shooting four people since Friday.

Over the course of the night, Nichols untied Smith, and some of the fear lessened as they talked. Nichols told Smith he felt like "he was already dead," but Smith urged him to consider the fact that he was still alive a "miracle."

"You're here in my apartment for some reason," she told him, saying he might be destined to be caught and to spread the word of God to fellow prisoners. She told him his escape from authorities had been a "miracle."

Smith, 33, later called 911 after she was freed, and police soon surrounded her suburban apartment complex. Nichols gave up peacefully, waving a white towel in surrender.



"I honestly think when I looked at him that he didn't want to do it anymore," Smith said. If he did not give up, she told him, "Lots more people are probably going get hurt and you're probably going to die."

Police said they were impressed by the way Smith handled herself.

"She acted very cool and levelheaded. We don't normally see that in our profession," said Gwinnett County Police Officer Darren Moloney. "It was an absolutely best-case scenario that happened, a complete opposite of what you expected to happen. We were prepared for the worst and got the best."

The crime spree began when Nichols allegedly overpowered a courthouse deputy escorting him to his rape trial Friday and took the deputy's gun, then killed the presiding judge and court reporter. He also is accused of killing a deputy who tried to stop him outside the courthouse and a federal agent during his flight from authorities.

Smith said her ordeal began around 2 a.m. Saturday morning with Nichols sticking a gun in her side in the parking lot of her apartment when she returned from a store.



He tied her up and told her to sit in the bathroom while he took a shower. "He said, `I'm not going to hurt you if you just do what I say,'" she said. He told her: "I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to hurt anybody else."

Choking back tears Sunday, she said she told Nichols that her husband died four years ago and if he hurt her, her little girl wouldn't have a mother or father. Smith's attorney, Josh Archer, said her husband died in her arms after being stabbed.

The two talked about the Bible and she handed him photos of her family. When morning came, Nichols was "overwhelmed" when Smith made him pancakes with real butter, she said. He told her he "just wanted some normalness to his life," she said.

The two watched television news reports about the slayings and the manhunt. "I cannot believe that's me on there," Smith quoted Nichols as saying.

When Nichols finally let Smith go to see her 5-year-old daughter, he said he wanted to stay at the apartment for a few more days. She said she thought he knew she was going to call 911 after she left.

Nichols could appear in federal court as early as Monday to face a charge of possession of a firearm by a person under indictment, the charge authorities are using to keep Nichols in custody while they sort out charging in the slayings, said U.S. Attorney David Nahmias.

The Fulton County District Attorney's Office hopes to formally charge Nichols with the new crimes within 30 days, spokesman Erik Friedly said Sunday. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard still would like to resolve Nichols' interrupted rape retrial.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that a courthouse surveillance camera recorded Nichols' initial surprise attack on Deputy Cynthia Hall but that no one in the control center noticed the assault.

"It's not just horrible, it was preventable," Senior Superior Court Judge Philip Etheridge told the newspaper.

A video camera, which is supposed to be monitored by two guards in a command post, shows Nichols and the deputy arriving in the holding area between two courtrooms, according to a law enforcement official who saw the tape. The video shows Hall guiding Nichols, whose hands are still handcuffed behind his back, into one of two open cells.



Hall releases one cuff and turns Nichols around to unhook the remaining cuff. But the muscular, 33-year-old Nichols then lunges at Hall, knocking the petite, 51-year-old grandmother backward into another cell. Both disappear from camera view. Two to three minutes later, Nichols emerges from the cell, holding Hall's gun belt and police radio. He picks up her keys from the floor and locks her in the cell.

A few minutes later, he emerges in civilian clothes. He locks the door behind him and calmly walks out of the holding area, carrying the gun belt, according to the official who saw the tape.

Judge Etheridge said Hall should not have been alone with Nichols, a former college linebacker who had been found with two sharpened door hinges in his socks earlier in the week.

Hall remained in critical condition Sunday, Grady Memorial Hospital officials said. Killed were Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes, court reporter Julie Brandau, Sgt. Hoyt Teasley and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent David Wilhelm.
http://www.record-journal.com/articles/2005/03/14/ap/headlines/d88qm9bg0.txt
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xx Court Shootings Suspect Appears at Hearing
« Reply #5 on: Mar 15th, 2005, 10:19am »

ATLANTA - Shackled and surrounded by 19 officers in a cinder-block jail room, the man accused of overpowering a courthouse deputy and killing a judge and four others appeared Tuesday before a judge for the first time since the rampage.

The judge told Brian Nichols he was being held on the same rape charge for which he was on trial for Friday when he allegedly assaulted a deputy, stole her gun and shot to death the judge presiding over his case, a court reporter and another deputy. He also is accused of killing a federal agent as he eluded police.

That previous charge is being used to hold Nichols as he's investigated in the courthouse shooting rampage and the agent's death. Assistant District Attorney Michele McCutcheon informed Cobb County Judge Frank Cox that the the state will pursue four charges of murder against Nichols.

Nichols was held without bond, and no future court hearings were set.

Officers lined the walls of the room during Tuesday's hearing. Nichols only spoke once, when the judge asked him if he had any questions.

"Not at this time," he said.



Defense Attorney Chris Adams told reporters after the hearing "this is a time of grief and mourning" for the courthouse community.

Nichols had been on trial on the rape charge for a second time in as many weeks when the shootings occurred Friday.

His first rape trial was declared a mistrial when jurors voted 8-4 for acquittal. On Monday, Nichols' second trial was declared a mistrial because of the shootings.

After a 26-hour manhunt, authorities arrested Nichols Saturday morning at an apartment complex where he had taken a woman hostage.

At Tuesday's hearing, the judge denied a request by Nichols' attorney that the Georgia Supreme Court appoint the judge in the case since all of the judges in Fulton County had recused themselves because of their relationships with slain Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and the other victims.
http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/articles/2005/03/15/ap/headlines/d88rgbao3.txt
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xx Woman to get $10,000 reward
« Reply #6 on: Mar 16th, 2005, 04:58am »

BY DICK PETTYS

ATLANTA -- Ashley Smith, the single mother who led police to alleged courthouse gunman Brian Nichols, will receive a reward of at least $10,000, Georgia's governor said Tuesday.

''In my opinion, she absolutely deserves it,'' Gov. Sonny Perdue said.

The reward fund reached $60,000 on Friday after Nichols allegedly shot a judge, a court reporter and a deputy and escaped from a downtown Atlanta courthouse. He is also accused of killing a federal agent that night as he eluded authorities.

Nichols was caught the next day after taking Smith hostage in her apartment for seven hours. Smith told police she spent all night talking to Nichols, cooked him breakfast and read to him from the Bible before he let her leave unharmed.

She called police and told them Nichols was at his apartment. He surrendered after police arrived.

Also Tuesday, Nichols, ringed by 19 officers in a cinderblock jail room, his hands and ankles shackled, went before a judge for the first time since the rampage.

Nichols, 33, was informed that authorities plan to chahttp://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-shoot16.htmlrge him with murder. AP
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xx Memorials for Judge, Agent Today
« Reply #7 on: Mar 17th, 2005, 05:45am »

COLLEGE PARK -- Two separate memorials will be held Thursday to allow mourners to pay their final respects to a Fulton County judge and federal agent who were gunned down last week.
The memorial service for Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes, 64, was scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.
Mourners were also expected to assemble at 11 a.m. in Salisbury, N.C., for the funeral of David Wilhelm, an immigration and customs agent who was slain as he worked on his home in Buckhead.

Police say both men were gunned down by Brian Nichols, who is alleged to have overpowered a Fulton sheriff's deputy before going on a shooting rampage that ultimately left four people dead.
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/4292944/detail.html
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xx Atlanta Hostage-Turned-Hero Gets $75K Reward
« Reply #8 on: Mar 25th, 2005, 06:53am »

ATLANTA -- The woman whose phone call led to the arrest of the suspected Atlanta courthouse shooter has a lot of new money to spend.
Ashley Smith picked up $75,000 in reward checks Thursday.

Her grandfather said Smith may use the money for education and paying off loans, and that she'll "give a portion of it to the Lord."

Georgia's governor and law enforcement groups gave the checks to Smith. They praised her courage, strength and perseverance.

The 26-year-old widowed mother has said she used the time she was held hostage to tell Brian Nichols about God. At Thursday's presentation ceremony, she said miracles can happen, even in the midst of tragedy.

Nichols is accused in the deaths of four people. His surrender ended a 26-hour manhunt after he let Smith go and she called authorities.
http://www.turnto10.com/news/4316191/detail.html
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xx Report: Mother of Nichols Warned of Possible Viole
« Reply #9 on: Mar 31st, 2005, 07:05am »

ATLANTA -- The mother of the man now accused in the quadruple shootings that began at the Fulton County courthouse earlier this month warned sheriff's officials in an e-mail that her son could become violent if he was convicted of a rape charge.

Brian Nichols first rape trial ended in a mistrial Feb. 28. While being retried on the charges on March 11, he allegedly shot a judge, sheriff's deputy, court reporter and a federal agent.

Clarita Nichols wrote in an e-mail she was worried that "if the verdict did not go his (Nichols') way, he would try to act out in court and take someone's weapon," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

Chief Deputy Michael Cooke said his office received word of the message during Nichols' first rape trial and took the warning seriously.

"We were fully expecting that he was going to react violently to the verdict, if there was a verdict," Cooke said.

The e-mail was one of a few warnings the Sheriff's Department received about Nichols potential for violence prior to the shootings. Deputies taking Nichols to court also found door hinges modified into homemade knives hidden in his shoes during his rape trial.

Barry Hazen, who represented Nichols during the rape trials, said he was never told of the mother's warning.

"If they (sheriff's officials) knew about some kind of explosive behavior and did nothing about it, that makes me even angrier," Hazen told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard was also informed for the first time Wednesday about the e-mail -- a month after the warning was given to deputies -- and immediately contacted Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freeman.

"He told the sheriff he expected a full and complete accounting of what the concern was, and, further, why we were not informed at the time," Erik Friedly, Howard's spokesman said.

The sheriff said he would respond to Howard's inquiry in a report next week, Friedly said.
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/4333361/detail.html
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xx Re: Shootings In Atlanta Court Room
« Reply #10 on: Apr 13th, 2005, 12:55pm »

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/0405/13courthall.html


Injured deputy leaves brain center, will undergo therapy

By CRAIG SCHNEIDER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/13/05
The Fulton County sheriff's deputy injured in the deadly shootings at the courthouse last month left an Atlanta brain-injury center today.

Deputy Cynthia Hall walked out of the Shepherd Center this morning. The 51-year-old Hall smiled and high-fived her doctor and thanked him.


Louie Favorite/AJC
Fulton County Deputy Cynthia Hall leaves Shepherd Center Wednesday for the Pathways facility in Decatur to complete outpatient therapy for her brain injuries.

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Doctor Gerald Bilsky says Hall has made a dramatic recovery but is expected to spend several weeks to months at an outpatient center in Decatur for more therapy.

Bilsky said Wednesday that she may never fully recover enough to handle a firearm and resume her former duties.

"A good outcome for her is to be independent," Bilsky said.

Hall boarded a van to Shepherd Pathways in Decatur, where she will continue therapy for a brain injury that has left her with problems with memory and processing information.

"This is the next logical step," said Shepherd spokesman Larry Bowie, noting that Hall no longer needs 24-hour nursing care. "She is getting better."

Hall will continue to receive therapy for speech, strength, coordination and cognitive skills. Stays at the center typically last four to six weeks, Bowie said, but it is unclear how long Hall will stay there.

Patients typically go on supervised outings to grocery stores, malls and movies, he said.

Hall was guarding Nichols on March 11 when he allegedly attacked her, took her gun and went on a shooting rampage that killed a judge, a court reporter, another courthouse deputy and a federal agent.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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xx Grand jury indicts Brian Nichols
« Reply #11 on: May 10th, 2005, 04:38am »

Accused courthouse shooter Brian Nichols was indicted Thursday on charges including murder in a March 11 spree that left four people, including a Superior Court judge, dead.

A Fulton County grand jury handed down a 54-count indictment against Nichols, that includes charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery and escape from authorities.

District Attorney Paul Howard said he plans to seek the death penalty.

The panel met behind closed doors inside a district attorney's office five floors below the courtroom where police say Nichols fatally shot a judge and a court reporter.

Outside the courthouse, police say, Nichols killed a sheriff's deputy and later killed a federal agent a few miles north of the courthouse.

Charges include four counts of murder, four counts of felony murder, seven counts of kidnapping and five counts of hijacking a motor vehicle.

Nichols was unshackled at the time he allegedly overpowered a deputy and stole her gun in order to go on a shooting spree.

Before the grand jury hearing Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller ruled that some of the proceedings would be recorded and that a defense lawyer could be present while Fuller questioned the panel members about their ability to be fair in light of intense pretrial publicity.

Defense lawyers had asked that the entire proceeding be recorded and that they be allowed to question the grand jurors themselves.

But the judge ruled that only he would get to ask the question about potential bias, which he said would be limited in scope.

Only prosecutors get to ask questions during the testimony portion of the hearing.

Prosecutors said last month that they would way until the May grand jury term to seek charges against Nichols because the previous grand jury was sworm in by the judge slain in the attack.

Thursday's hearing was special session. Grand jurors in Fulton County uusually only meet on Tuesdays and Fridays to consider cases.

The 33-year-old Nichols is accused of fatally shooting Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and his court reporter, Julie Brandau, inside the court. Authorities said he then killed sheriff's deputy Sgt. Hoyt Teasley outside the courthouse and later in the day killed federal agent David Wilhelm, who was working on a new house he planned to move into.

Nichols was being re-tried for rape and other charges when he escaped from a deputy and allegedly killed the four people. The rape case was declared a mistrial at the request of Nichols' attorney, the prosecutor's office said. Nichols' first trial was a mistrial as well.
http://www.ajc.com/news/content/metro/atlanta/0505/05courthouse.html

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xx Nichols Pleads Not Guilty to Murders
« Reply #12 on: May 17th, 2005, 10:07am »

The man being held responsible for waging a bloody rampage at the Fulton County Courthouse last March pleaded not guilty to the murders

Brian Nichols appeared at a 10 a.m. arraignment, to face a total of 54 charges stemming from the March 11 shooting spree that left four people dead – three of them were gunned down at the courthouse and one other in Buckhead. Nichols is expected to enter a plea regarding the murders, as well as carjacking, kidnapping and armed robbery charges.

The court record bears the deaths of Fulton Court judge Rowland Barnes, court reporter Julie Brandau, Sheriff’s Deputy Hoyt Teasley and U.S. Customs Agent David Wilhelm.

Nichols’ arraignment comes a week after prosecutors in the case – including Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard – announced that they would be seeking the death penalty against Nichols.

The judge asked, “Mr. Howard, do you intend to seek the death penalty?”

The district attorney replied, “Your honor, we do intend to seek the death penalty.”

The judge asked, “And, have you filed a written notice of that intention?”

Howard said, “Yes, sir...”

On the day of the shootings, Nichols was being brought into the Fulton courthouse to stand trial for previous rape and assault charges. Police say he managed to overpower the Sheriff’s deputy – a grandmother – who was escorting him, get a hold of a firearm and embark on a mission of death and escape.

Armed with a gun, Nichols first gunned down Barnes, Brandau and Teasely. Then, police say, as Nichols made his way from the courthouse and into Buckhead, he came across Wilhelm in the yard of his home. Police say Nichols fatally shot Wilhelm before fleeing to Cobb County, where he held a woman hostage for about seven hours before she convinced him to turn himself in.

The defendant’s parents – Gene and Claritha Nichols – attended last week’s initial hearing, but departed without making a public comment.

Nichols’ trial is not expected to start for at least another year or two. The reason: it involves a total of 54 charges and the death penalty.

This June, Nichols is due to attend more hearings as his attorneys’ motions for a gag order and to have D.A. Howard removed from the case are heard.
http://www.11alive.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=63210
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