View Full Version : Atlanta, GA Killer

Heather Librandi -
03-12-2005, 08:08 AM
Can you believe this man?

Hundreds of law officials searched through the night for a man suspected of killing a judge and two other people at a downtown courthouse, then stealing a reporter's car to escape. Brian Nichols, 33, remained at large early Saturday after apparently never even taking the green Honda Accord from the parking garage where he had carjacked it from. Someone working in the area saw the car and called police.

"He went from one level of the parking lot to another, apparently," Atlanta police spokesman John Quigley said early Saturday. "We don't know if any other cars are missing. I don't know if the person took public transportation or took another vehicle. There's lots of options."

Quigley said authorities were reviewing surveillance tapes "to see what leads we can develop from that." One of those tapes came from CNN security cameras in the parking garage where the carjacking took place.

The photos show a black man resembling Nichols donning a jacket that CNN said belonged to Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Don O'Briant.

Nichols beat O'Briant and demanded his car after fleeing the courthouse, where he fatally shot a judge, a court reporter and deputy sheriff with a gun he stole from another deputy sheriff. The deputy sheriff who had her gun stolen was escorting Nichols to his rape trial.

Throughout Friday, police said they were looking for the reporter's car, and highway message boards across the state issued descriptions of the vehicle. The report about the car being found came more than 13 hours after the slayings.

Authorities continued to ask for the public's help in finding Nichols early Saturday, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said, "We do not know what type of vehicle he is in."

Nichols is armed and dangerous, said Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington.

The former computer technician was being escorted to his trial, in its fourth day, when the incident began Friday morning. Nichols was facing a retrial on charges of rape, sodomy, burglary, and false imprisonment, among others, after his earlier trial was declared a mistrial on Monday when jurors voted 8-4 for acquittal.

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. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Nichols brought a loaded machine gun into the home and a cooler with food in case he was hungry.

Nichols had been dating the woman for eight years, and she tried to break up with him after he got another woman pregnant, said Nichols' attorney, Barry Hazen. Though he is accused of imprisoning the woman and raping her, Hazen said his client claims she invited him over and they had consensual sex.

"My guts tell me he faced a greater chance of conviction in the second trial," Hazen said.

Nichols, who had been jailed since Aug. 23, faced a possible life sentence if convicted of rape, and prosecutor Gayle Abramson said she believes Nichols was certain he would be convicted and was willing to kill to avoid it.

The day before the incident, the judge and prosecutors in Nichols' case requested extra security after investigators found a shank — or homemade knife — in each of Nichols' shoes, Abramson said.

District Attorney Howard did not say what measures were taken to beef up security, but Assistant Police Chief Alan Dreher said no other officers assisted Hall with taking Nichols to court.

Hazen described his client as a "big, strong guy" with a laid-back personality.

"Even the larger deputies I don't think would be any match for Brian Nichols," Hazen said.

Police information suggests Nichols could have left the courthouse Friday morning after wounding deputy Cynthia Hall, who escorted him to court. Instead, he went into the courtroom and held about a dozen people hostage before killing court reporter Julie Brandau and Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes, police said. Barnes had been a Fulton County judge since July 1998.

As Nichols left the courthouse, he was confronted by another Fulton County deputy, Sgt. Hoyt Teasely, who Nichols shot and killed, police said.

Chief Pennington said Friday night that Nichols attempted three or four carjackings after the shooting, one in which he took the reporter's Honda Accord. Early indications are that Nichols parked the car on another level of the same garage and escaped on foot.

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

Lisa Frye -
03-12-2005, 08:45 AM
Hi Heather,

Thank you for sharing this article. I'm sure there will be other members interested in this as well. :) In the meantime, let me invite you to post yourself an introduction so that others may welcome you! :) Newcomers Introduction Lounge (http://www.ipiu.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=45)

Thanks again for the great article. ;)

Lynette Helsel -
03-12-2005, 10:35 AM
They have him in custody right now! Thank the Lord.

Lynette Helsel -
03-12-2005, 10:38 AM
Gwinnett County --CNN has verified he has been taken down!

Jan Conklin
03-12-2005, 03:28 PM
Wow - that almost sounds like a guy with a death wish. Why else would you kill a judge, of all people? I feel bad for the deputy who was escorting him to the courthouse; there's probably not much she could do about it but she's probably not happy about it anyway. (Probably jobless after this too.)

I seem to get smacked down for every little unintentional infraction (like tickets for parking 2 minutes over the 2-hour limit); it always makes me wonder how folks get so far down the trail of crimes that they start killing people. It's the stuff that entire psychological studies are made of, I guess.

Glad I'm not a judge.


Douglas Silvia-
03-13-2005, 07:03 AM
I want to say something about the great Law Enforcement Agencies in Georgia. Every agency responsed to this animals crime within minutes after it happened. Hundreds of officers went into action in a massive manhunt to catch this criminal. I am pround to no many of these great officers and feel safe knowing they are out there. Hopefully this guy will be juiced quickly.

Lynette Helsel -
03-13-2005, 10:15 PM
I agree totally with you Douglas. That was a huge show of what wonderful planned law enforcement abilities do when they are called into action.
The killer really had no chance to get far. I really admire what law enforcement does and can do when they need to when the public is in danger as well as their own officers at times.

Lynette Helsel

Douglas Silvia-
03-16-2005, 05:43 PM
I was at the Fulton County Sheriff's Office today and it is a very somber feeling. You cna see the pain on the faces of these fine men and women. As shown by these usless killings, these men and women's lives are on the line every time the put on the uniform. Like are men and women in uniform, I tell these guys how much I cherish the safety and protection the provide me and my family everytime I have the chance to talk to them.

Christine Jones -
01-18-2007, 11:41 AM
Update on this case, Nichols will use Mental Health defense, jury selection begins:

Nichols' lawyers tell judge they plan mental health defense

The Associated Press - ATLANTA

Defense lawyers for Brian Nichols, the courthouse shooting suspect charged with killing four people, have disclosed that they told the judge they plan to use a mental health defense.

They also said they have been seeking court help in getting the funding to hire experts.

The disclosures came late Thursday in a motion filed hours after the long process of selecting jurors for Nichols' murder trial began.

Nichols' lawyers said in the motion they had told the court privately of their plans to file a notice of intent to use a mental health defense.

Prior to Thursday, the defense had only suggested they may use a mental health defense. Prosecutors have been seeking a formal notice by the defense of an intention to use an insanity defense. The defense motion late Thursday did not state clearly when the lawyers might file a detailed notice.

The motion also did not elaborate on the defense strategy, but noted the lawyers have turned over to prosecutors more than 2,700 pages of documents and 200 hours of videotaped witness statements.

The jury selection process, meanwhile, began Thursday amid heightened security as a few hundred county residents filled out questionnaires. Another batch of potential jurors arrived for duty Friday.

Nichols' murder trial, including jury selection, could last six months or more, and it could be April or May before opening statements are made.

Complete Story (http://www.accessnorthga.com/news/ap_newfullstory.asp?ID=85913)

Christine Jones -
01-18-2007, 11:46 AM
Ashley Smith, kidnapped during this horrific ordeal, talks about being held hostage by Nichols, she wrote a book about it (in my parts (Metro Atlanta) everyone has an opinion about Ashley, some think she's a fraud, some a hero, I have not read this book BTW):


In her new book, Unlikely Angel, written with Stacy Mattingly and in stores today, Smith reveals some surprising details of the seven hours she spent in her home with a desperate man, including her admission that she shared crystal methamphetamine (or “ice”) with her captor. Smith also relates the painful story of the five years before she was taken hostage—her years-long battle with drug addiction, the premature birth of her daughter, Paige, and the murder of her husband, Mack. And while so much has been made of the fact that Smith read aloud from Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life to Nichols, Angel reveals that, in fact, she read little more than a paragraph, and it was the telling of her own story and the sharing of her faith that turned Nichols around and allowed Smith to pass the night unharmed. In a phone interview, a soft-spoken Smith revealed to The Book Standard how she came to write the book, and what she hopes people will learn from it.