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Three Shot Dead in Atlanta Court Room


I give up. This board is too hard to understand.
This bastard is still on the loose... I hope they track him down and give him the treatment he deserves.


Three Shot Dead at Ga. Trial; Gunman Flees
By HARRY WEBER, Associated Press Writer
5 hours ago

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.
The question is-does this fucker deserve the death penalty-anyone who is opposed to the DP cannot argue that this guy is not a major threat, wherever he may be incarcerated. Personally, I hope a cop shoots out his gas tank and he burns to death....he is a psychopath....he was hired as a computer tech, but is still a rapist....he is a true psychopath
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He brought two knives in his shoes in a court appearance last week, so they "beefed up" security in the courtroom for his appearance this time. Uh huh. He was being escorted WITHOUT shackles and cuffs by one female deputy. Makes a lot of sense. This is a procedure which has been instituted to minimize the appearance of "guilt" in the eyes of the jury. If a guy had brought shivs to court one week ago, I am NOT escorting him unshackled anywhere outside of a secure setting! Stupid, stupid, stupid....Blame Nichols for his murderous behavior, and blame the lack of a real security protocol for the environment in which these people died.
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