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Atlanta Tragedy

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Have y'all heard about the Atlanta killings? I'm sure most of you know all about this. Since I'm so close, it's hard for me to tell how widespread the story is. Well, I'm gonna tell ya anyway. A man, Brian Nichols, was on trial for rape (among other things) and overpowered a deputy (she is in the hospital in critical condition), then made his way across the skywalk into the courtroom where he held those people hostage before killing the judge and the court reporter. Then he ran down 7 flights of stairs from the 8th floor, went out an emergency exit, where a sheriff's deputy went after him. Nichols then turned and shot him in the abdomen, killing him. Then he carjacked about 4 different people, pistol whipping one after he refused to get into the trunk of the car, who was released from the hospital yesterday. Then he went missing. A nationwide manhunt was on all day yesterday, all night, and most of the morning. They finally caught him late morning/early afternoon today. This is where I'm a little rusty on details. It was found out that he also carjacked and killed another man and was holding a woman hostage, who eventually managed to get away and call police. Now he is in federal custody. I'm not sure if they have found out any of the things he did while he was missing. I live about 2 hours away from all this. It was scary not knowing where this man was. We were all afraid that maybe he was heading this way (unlikely but possible). Here is the latest update off of CNN because I probably left out a lot:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/03/12/at...ing/index.html
post #2 of 29
Yes, it was all over the news here in San Diego. In fact, they broke into the morning news this morning with the update. So, so sad that all of those people were injured and killed.
post #3 of 29
That guy needs to be S.O.S. -meaning Shot On Sight.
post #4 of 29
Yep, all over the news here in South Florida.
post #5 of 29
::censor::censor::censor:: is happening? I this supposed to be open hunting season on judges now?
... That guy needs to be not only put in jail but under it ... The same thing happened in Chicago too. I hope that they let judges carry protection now that this is happening.
post #6 of 29
Can you imagine what the police are actually doing to him behind the scenes now that he is caught?
He deserves EVERY minute of it!
How ruthless can you get!?
They probably would've shot him on site if there hadn't been so many witnesses.
Like I said before, I don't trust cops and but I despise what this guy did even worse.
post #7 of 29
I'm surprised that they were able to take him alive. A character like that usually wants to go out in a hail of gunfire.

WHY did they have only ONE deputy escorting him? He'd already been caught with shanks and they KNEW that he was a security risk.

He's looking at 4 death penalties, now: 3 state for the judge, clerk and deputy and 1 Federal for the ICE officer.
post #8 of 29
If you watch the video of them taking him in, they have the ankle shackles and handcuffs with 3-4 cops walking with him.
He apparently waved a white flag of some sort (a white t-shirt?) signaling a surrender.
I thought he would go down in a blaze too, if they found him, but I guess ya just never know.
post #9 of 29
The story made the European news, too. I agree with Cindy - why was he only being escorted by one deputy? And why wasn't he handcuffed, since they'd already found shanks on him? Sorry, I think this was preventable.
post #10 of 29
I think its such a terrible tragedy - infact I was wondering if Georgia has the death penalty - if so, he is sure to get it!!! Those victims were just doing their job!
post #11 of 29
My very good friend, who now lives in Atlanta, was actually leaving to drive down here (to Tampa) for the weekend to visit. He said that the whole city was locked down - schools, government buildings, you name it.

Now that they have caught this maniac, and apparently he killed someone else, too, I just love how it's all reported on the news how he 'allegedly' killed the judge and the court officers. I understand the American justice system, but give me a serious break on this one. Somebody's gun should have "accidentally' gone off and spared us this guy's presence permanently. Now he's going to get a trial for this too????? The details of the rape he was on trial for were disgusting enough. I understand he kept some girl hostage for days raping her at will.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb25
The details of the rape he was on trial for were disgusting enough. I understand he kept some girl hostage for days raping her at will.
From what I understand, it was a former girlfriend. Sick.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by katl8e
I'm surprised that they were able to take him alive. A character like that usually wants to go out in a hail of gunfire.

WHY did they have only ONE deputy escorting him? He'd already been caught with shanks and they KNEW that he was a security risk.

He's looking at 4 death penalties, now: 3 state for the judge, clerk and deputy and 1 Federal for the ICE officer.

The security at the Fulton County Courthouse has apparently long been a hot issue. Because of funding costs and the high volume of cases being heard, they don't have more than one deputy to escort prisoners in certain locations. When Nichols made his escape he was actually in a holding area where he was changing from his prison garb into street clothes to go into the court room. They did not wish to shackle him going into the courtroom as they were afraid it would compromise his right to a fair trial by making the jurors believe he was so bad as to be shackled. Some of the concerns raised is that the deputy was a small woman 20 years older than this 210 lb former football playing athlete in top physical condition and she was armed with a firearm while the potential was there for him to overpower her. He was strong enough to overpower a much larger person as well. Some other judicial areas arm their deputies with stunguns instead of firearms as to prevent a tragedy like this happening.

The other person killed was a Customs and Immigration officer north of the city. His car, clothing, firearm and identification were also all stolen, and it was partly the location of the vehicle that helped police identify the area in which was was eventually captured. He had taken a woman hostage but she managed to escape and call 911. He surrendered without a fight, possibly because he had no more ammunition.

I can appreciate the concerns of other Georgians in the area - I found out during the day that the police were also keeping an eye on his parent's home - 5 miles from where I live.

Don't worry, there are a lot of questions being asked - and answers demanded - for how this happened, and many many comments that due to the way security is handled at this Court House, it was only a matter of time before something like this occured.

Kathryn
post #14 of 29
Yes, for those who asked, Georgia does have the death penalty.

Kathryn
post #15 of 29
What I'm VERY interested in is the viewpoint of the woman whom Nichols accosted as she was going into her apartment. Apparently, she was able to build a rapport with this man (for over 7 hours), escaped--or was let go-- and then called 911. They reported she didn't even sound upset and was very calm on the phone. <--- She kept her cool!
post #16 of 29
I understand that Georgia law does not allow bringing the accused into the courtroom, in handcuffs, so as not to prejudice the jury. Why don't they do what other jurisdictions do - bring the handcuffed defendant into the courtroom, sit him/her down, remove the cuffs and THEN bring in the jury?

This is the method used in most states.

Kudos to the woman who was able to blow him in - she deserves a medal!
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by joanne511
From what I understand, it was a former girlfriend. Sick.
Yes, all of this stems from domestic violence. This is where it may lead if things aren't done to stop the root of the problem...
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
They just had Ashley Smith, the lady that he held hostage from Friday to Saturday morning on tv. She told about everything that happened from the time he got there until he finally let her go. It doesn't even seem real.


But it is embarassing for this state how the law handled certain things. For example, the security tapes from the parking garage where he carjacked and pistol whipped the AJC reporter were not looked at until 15 hours later. And yes, of course, it shows him walking through there. And the car that everyone was looking for all day Friday had neven ever left that parking garage! And it makes no sense to me why only one female deputy was with him in the courthouse when he had already tried that deal with the shanks the day before. And I think the "no handcuffs" thing is ridiculous.
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb25
My very good friend, who now lives in Atlanta, was actually leaving to drive down here (to Tampa) for the weekend to visit. He said that the whole city was locked down - schools, government buildings, you name it.

Now that they have caught this maniac, and apparently he killed someone else, too, I just love how it's all reported on the news how he 'allegedly' killed the judge and the court officers. I understand the American justice system, but give me a serious break on this one. Somebody's gun should have "accidentally' gone off and spared us this guy's presence permanently. Now he's going to get a trial for this too????? The details of the rape he was on trial for were disgusting enough. I understand he kept some girl hostage for days raping her at will.
I know! I noticed how they keep saying "allegedly" and "accused of". This is a duh-type situation. There is no doubt - he did it, so they should drop those words. And yes, he was on trial pretty much for keeping his former girlfriend tied up for 3 days, raping her whenever he wanted - he said it was until her birthday. He was already facing life in prison (not sure if it's with or without parole though). Now I see no way that he could ever think of avoiding the death penalty (Georgia does have it).
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgiagirl8
They just had Ashley Smith, the lady that he held hostage from Friday to Saturday morning on tv. She told about everything that happened from the time he got there until he finally let her go. It doesn't even seem real.


But it is embarassing for this state how the law handled certain things. For example, the security tapes from the parking garage where he carjacked and pistol whipped the AJC reporter were not looked at until 15 hours later. And yes, of course, it shows him walking through there. And the car that everyone was looking for all day Friday had neven ever left that parking garage! And it makes no sense to me why only one female deputy was with him in the courthouse when he had already tried that deal with the shanks the day before. And I think the "no handcuffs" thing is ridiculous.
Which TV station was that?
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
post #22 of 29
Just finished watching the clips. Her voice is soothing. She did seem calm. That probably helped to calm him down too. I really enjoyed watching those and hearing her side of the story. Thanks so much.

post #23 of 29
On this evening's news, I heard that Ms. Smith is going to get the $10,000 reward, for turning him in. Hope that she puts it to good use, like a security system.

As for the media using the terms "alleged" and "accused" - they have to do that, for legal reasons. Under the "innocent until proven (italics mine) guilty" provision of the Constitution, Nichols is (technically) innocent, despite the overwhelming amount of evidence against him. To call him "rapist", "murderer" or "kidnapper" before he is convicted, leaves them open to libel suits, which would waste an awful lot of time and taxpayers' money.

There is a debate, now as to whether or not to continue the original rape trial. The judge is dead and it would appear that the jury is irreparably tainted. Do they declare a mistrial and subject the victim to a third trial? A lot will depend upon her - I understand that she has the option of dropping the charges. I also understand her wanting justice but, how harrowing can it be - first the rape, then the first (mis)trial and now the second trial disrupted so tragically. That poor woman has been to hell and back.

Its a slam-dunk that Nichols is going down for four murders, kidnapping, multiple assaults and armed robberies. Even if he were to miraculously escape the death penalty, he'll never see the outside world again.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by katl8e
On this evening's news, I heard that Ms. Smith is going to get the $10,000 reward, for turning him in. Hope that she puts it to good use, like a security system.
Has anyone heard why she isn't getting the entire 60,000 dollar reward? Are other people getting reward money too? For example, the people whose cars were hijacked?
post #25 of 29
I'm just glad to hear she's at least getting something. At lunch today they were reporting that they hadn't decided "if she was eligible" for the reward. Come on! She called the police AND talked him into surrendering! If that doesn't qualify, I don't know what does...
post #26 of 29
There was a whole article on her in the London Times today. What an amazing woman she is! The whole episode would have left me screaming, yet she stayed calm and thought her way out of it, even convinced him to turn himself in. Think how many lives she has saved - I think she deserves more than ten thousand reward.

Sue
post #27 of 29
She deserves the full reward offered AND the respect of everyone, everywhere, especially us Georgians who did not sleep soundly Friday night...
post #28 of 29
post #29 of 29
I'm happy for her.
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