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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk Bob_R's Avatar
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    Default 3 shot dead at Ga.Trail; nutbag flees

    Three Shot Dead at Ga. Trial; Gunman Flees
    Fri Mar 11, 6:51 PM


    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.

  2. #2
    Baluchitherium mistere's Avatar
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    Jane, stop this crazy thing.

  3. #3
    Banned! Hotlantadude1981's Avatar
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    It's all over the news here in Atlanta obviousally..... It
    doesn't surprise me this happend. It surprises me it hasn't
    happend often simply because these people have nothing
    to lose. Just a shame.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk fast98dodge's Avatar
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    This guy is the reason why I think torture as punishment should be legal in this country in special cases.
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  5. #5
    Hang 'Em High janthraxx's Avatar
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    Well they caught the fucker, but not before he killed another government employee.

    Death penalty, please.
    "Suck a fat one, faggot."
    -MikeL, showing off that sharp wit of his.

    "You may recognize some of these chemicals. Let's start with cyanide...The one the Aum Shinrikyo cult attempted to use to commit mass murder in a Tokyo subway in May 1995...The same cyanide produced routinely--1.4 million tons per year--for use in the production of plastics, adhesives, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and so on. It seems that those who put small amounts of cyanide in subways are terrorists. But those who produce it in mass quantities and contaminate broad reaches of soil, water, and air, killing countless living beings, are not terrorists, but rather capitalists, and are counted among the finest and most powerful people on the planet."

    -Derrick Jensen, "What We Leave Behind"

    "You know what's weird to me is Christians who are against the death penalty. After all, if it weren't for the death penalty, we wouldn't celebrate Easter!"

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  6. #6
    Master Bluesman Elwood P.'s Avatar
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    This guy murders four people but doesn't have the guts to put a bullet in his own brain. Go figure.
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  7. #7
    Good Enough
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    I had a friend in Atlanta working downtown exactly when it went down...thank the gods she wasn't hurt by that nut.
    From 3-13 to 10-6 and NFC South Champs.....go Saints!

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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk FH's Avatar
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    I think it's a joke the media still have to call that douche-bag a "suspect"....

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FH
    I think it's a joke the media still have to call that douche-bag a "suspect"....
    You never know. He could be being framed!

    Give him the Iron Maiden! (No, not the band!)
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  10. #10
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    UPDATE!

    Hostage Gave Meth to Atlanta Fugitive
    Updated: Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2005 - 12:12 AM

    By GREG BLUESTEIN
    Associated Press Writer

    ATLANTA (AP) - Ashley Smith, the woman who says she persuaded suspected courthouse gunman Brian Nichols to release her by talking about her faith, discloses in a new book that she gave him methamphetamine during the hostage ordeal.

    Smith did not share that detail with authorities at the time. But investigators said she came clean about the drugs when they interviewed her months later. They said they have no plans to charge her with drug possession.

    In her book, "Unlikely Angel," released Tuesday, Smith says Nichols had her bound on her bed with masking tape and an extension cord. She says he asked for marijuana, but she did not have any, and she dug into her illegal stash of crystal meth instead.

    Smith, a 27-year-old widowed mother who gained widespread praise for her level-headedness, says the seven-hour hostage ordeal in March led to the realization that she was a drug addict, and she says she has not used drugs since the night before she was taken captive.

    "If I did die, I wasn't going to heaven and say, `Oh, excuse me, God. Let me wipe my nose, because I just did some drugs before I got here,'" Smith told the Augusta Chronicle.

    Police said Nichols took Smith hostage in her apartment March 11 after a shooting rampage at the Atlanta courthouse.

    During the ordeal, Smith says, she pulled out Rick Warren's book "The Purpose-Driven Life" and read to Nichols a chapter called "Using What God Gave Me" to gain his trust. Nichols later released her, and she called 911 and told authorities where to find him.

    Nichols is accused of killing four people, including a judge, and could get the death penalty.

    Since Nichols' arrest, Smith has received $70,000 in rewards and has been bombarded with offers for books, movies and speaking engagements. Her ordeal has been held up as an example of the redemptive power of faith.

    "It's hard for people to understand the miracle of the story," she told the newspaper. "This was totally a God thing, to me in my life. This was God getting my attention, going, `I'm going to give you one more chance.'"

    Financial details of the book have not been released, but Smith pledged to donate an undisclosed portion of the book's proceeds to a memorial fund for the victims.

    Calls to Nichols' attorneys were not immediately returned Tuesday. Prosecution spokesman Erik Friedly would not comment on the case.

    Smith says in her book that as the night wore on _ after Nichols had snorted some of Smith's meth _ she tried to win Nichols' trust by talking about her faith in God and relating to him her personal stories.

    She says she told him how her husband had died in her arms four years earlier after being stabbed during a brawl.

    She writes that she asked Nichols if he wanted to see the danger of drugs and lifted up her tank top several inches to reveal a five-inch scar down the center of her torso _ the aftermath of a car wreck caused by drug-induced psychosis. She says she let go of the steering wheel when she heard a voice saying, "Let go and let God."

    http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=104&sid=577679
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