1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Brian Nichols: Atlanta Courthouse Killer

Background and Latest Developments

By

Brian Nichols

Brian Nichols

Police photo
On March 11, 2005, Nichols was on trial for rape at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta when he overpowered a female deputy, took her gun, and went into the courtroom where he trial was being held and shot the judge and a court reporter. Nichols is also charged with killing a sheriff's deputy who tried to stop his escape from the courthouse and shooting a federal agent at his home a few miles from the courthouse.

Nichols' escape set off one of the largest manhunts in Georgia history, which ended after he took Ashley Smith hostage in her apartment and she convinced him to let her leave and then called 9-1-1.

Latest Developments

Brian Nichols Avoids Death Penalty
Dec. 12, 2008
Brian Nichols, the convicted Atlanta Courthouse killer, avoided the death penalty when a jury deciding his fate deadlocked after four days of deliberation. The jury was split 9-3 in favor of giving Nichols the death penalty rather than life in prison.

Atlanta Courthouse Killer Found Guilty
Nov. 7, 2008
After deliberating for 12 hours, a jury found the Atlanta Courthouse killer guilty of murder and dozens of other charges in connection with his deadly escape from the Fulton County Courthouse on March 11, 2005. Brian Nichols was found guilty of all 54 charges after pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

Previous Developments

Ashley Smith Testifies Against Brian Nichols
Oct. 6, 2008
The woman who talked accused Atlanta Courthouse killer Brian Nichols into surrendering to police testified at his trial that she appealed to his religious beliefs while she was held captive by him in her apartment.

Atlanta Courthouse Shooting Trial Underway
Sept. 22, 2008
After years of delays and nine weeks to select a jury of eight women and four men, the trial of accused Atlanta Courthouse shooter Brian Nichols got underway under high security Monday. Nichols has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for killing a judge, court reporter and sheriff's deputy at the Fulton County Courthouse and a federal agent later that day.

Atlanta Courthouse Shooting Trial Finally Begins
July 10, 2008
Jury selection has finally begun in the Atlanta Courthouse Shooting a day after Brian Nichols pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 54 counts, including the murders of four people. More than 600 witnesses are scheduled to testify in the high-profile trial which could last for months.

Mental Exam Ordered for Brian Nichols
June 12, 2008
A judge has ruled that prosecutors can have their own psychological expert examine Brian Nichols, who plans to claim he was insane when he shot his way out of an Atlanta courthouse in 2005.

Nichols Wants New Judge Removed
April 23, 2008
Brian Nichols' defense team claims the judge should recuse himself because he was a friend of one of the victims.

Judge Keeps Jury Pool in Brian Nichols Case
April 11, 2008
The new judge in the Atlanta Courthouse Shooting case has ruled that the jury selection process will begin again in July where it left off before being interrupted by the controversy over the funding for the defense. Superior Court Judge Jim Bodiford issued a ruling that jury selection would continue July 10 from the original jury pool of 3,500.

Courthouse Shooting Judge Steps Down
Jan. 30, 2008
The controversial judge in the Atlanta Courthouse shooting trial of Brian Nichols has stepped down after a magazine article quoted him saying, "everyone in the world knows he did it."

County to Help Fund Brian Nichols' Defense
Jan. 15, 2008
The death penalty trial of accused Atlanta Courthouse killer Brian Nichols could begin again as early as mid-March after the Fulton County Commission voted to spend $125,000 to help in his defense by paying for a psychiatric evaluation.

Brian Nichols Murder Trial Delayed Again
Nov. 16, 2007
For the fifth time, the murder trial of accused Atlanta Courthouse Killer Brian Nichols has been delayed due to a lack of funds for his defense. Sticking to his guns despite growing criticism, Judge Hilton Fuller ruled that he will not start the trial until there is more money provided to Nichols' defense team.

DA Tries to Force Start of Nichols Trial
Nov. 2, 2007
The Fulton County district attorney has filed a complaint with the Georgia Supreme Court in an effort to force the judge in the Atlanta Courthouse Shootings case to resume jury selection.

Atlanta Courthouse Shooting Trial to Begin
Oct. 15, 2007
Security will be tight at the Fulton County courthouse this week as the trial of Brian Nichols begins in the same building he is accused of shooting his way out of almost three years ago.

Lack of Money May Delay Brian Nichols' Trial
Feb. 12, 2007
The trial of Brian Nichols in the Atlanta courthouse shooting case may be delayed because the agency in charge of paying his court-appointed attorneys is out of money.

Atlanta Courthouse Shooting Trial Begins
Jan. 11, 2007
Although there is absolutely no doubt about the guilt of the defendant, a long, drawn out and expensive trial is scheduled to begin in the same courthouse that also happens to be the scene of the crime.

Brian Nichols Trial Delay Rejected
Dec. 22, 2006
Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller has rejected another defense motion that would have delayed the start of the trial of Brian Nichols.

Atlanta Courthouse Shooting Trial to Be Moved?
Jan 30, 2006
Attorneys for Brian Nichols have asked that his trial be moved to another courthouse, because the current one is the crime scene.

Hostage Ashley Smith Gave Nichols Meth
Sept. 28, 2005
Ashley Smith, the woman who helped authorities capture Atlanta Courthouse killer Brian Nichols, says in her new book "Unlikely Angel" that she talked with him about her faith and gave him methamphetamine during her seven-hour hostage ordeal.

  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Crime
  4. Current Cases
  5. Brian Nichols - Atlanta Courthouse Killer

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.