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Atlanta, GA

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by Mr. Peanut, Mar 13, 2005.

  1. Mr. Peanut

    Mr. Peanut Elite Member

    Joined: Dec 2, 2002 Messages: 3,033 Likes Received: 10

    After a nearly 26-hour manhunt, one that observers called one of the largest in state history, Brian Nichols, the man suspected of shooting to death a state judge, a court reporter, a deputy, and injuring another deputy, was captured by authorities Saturday morning.

    Nichols, 33, was arrested without incident at the Bridgewater Apartments near W. Liddel Road in Gwinnett County.

    Police responded at 9:50 a.m. to a hostage situation at the apartment complex, according to Gwinnett County police Cpl. Darren Moloney.

    A woman, whose identity has not be released, was allegedly taken hostage by Nichols as she was trying to enter her apartment in the early morning hours, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said.

    The woman was in the apartment with Nichols for some time before she either escaped or was able to leave and alert authorities by calling 911, Gwinnett County Police Chief Charles Walters said.

    The woman was not in the apartment at the time of the arrest. Walters described the hostage situation as a "stranger on stranger" incident.

    Nichols waved a "white flag or t-shirt" to alert his surrender, Walters said.

    Authorities said Nichols is also the suspect in the murder of a U.S. Immigrant and Customs enforcement agent. The agent was identified as David Wilhelm. The agent’s pistol and badge were reportedly found at the arrest site.

    Following the arrest, Nichols was placed in a vehicle and driven south to the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters near Clairmont Road in DeKalb County. Agents changed Nichols into armored clothing and placed him in shackles.

    After initial processing, amid a crowd of clapping and cheering from some spectators who had gathered, Nichols was transferred from the FBI headquarters Saturday morning to the police station at City Hall East on Ponce De Leon Avenue.

    Nichols is suspected of shooting to death Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes, Sgt. Hoyt Teasley, and Julie Brandau, a court reporter, at the Fulton County courthouse in downtown Atlanta Friday morning. Another deputy, identified as Cynthia Hall, was injured. She is expected to survive her injuries.

    Chief Walters said the FBI would be the lead investigative agency in the case, leading to speculation that Nichols may eventually be charged in the murder of the Immigration and Customs agent.

    A Clear Intention to Kill
    Nichols, who is a defendant in a rape case, was brought to a holding cell on the 8th floor of the Fulton County courthouse where he was expected to change his clothes Friday morning, according to State Court Judge Craig Schwall, who was relaying information given to him by his deputy, Sgt. John Gardner.

    "[Nichols] overpowered the female deputy, shot her and took her keys, took her gun, and took her ammunition, and calmly walked across the public hallway," said Judge Schwall.

    According to the account, Nichols then walked into Judge Barnes' chambers and handcuffed the deputy, stole his gunbelt, and then went in the courtroom and shot the judge and shot the court reporter.

    "My deputy told me that that they clearly felt like that he, the inmate, had a clear intention to kill the judge, that's what he was going to do," said Schwall.

    To get from the cell to the courtroom, Nichols would have to walk down a hallway and across a bridge. It would probably take about one to two minutes, according to Schwall.

    Nichols descended at least seven flights of stairs and exiting the courthouse on the side facing MLK street.

    Nichols then shot and mortally wounded the male deputy, authorities said.

    Series of Carjackings
    After a series of carjackings following the shooting of the deputy outside the courthouse, the suspect eventually ran into Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Don O’Briant at a parking garage and demanded his green Honda Accord.

    O'Briant said he defied the suspect's orders to get into the trunk of his car and was hit with the gun when he turned to flee. "I knew that it would not be a good outcome if I got in the trunk," he said.

    O'Briant required 15 stitches to his eye and suffered a broken wrist in the incident.

    The Accord was found late Friday night near Spring and Marietta streets at about 10:40 p.m., Atlanta police told 11Alive News.

    The car was found in the second level of a parking lot across from the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. Authorities said the car's engine was cold when found, leading to speculation that the car had been there for some time. The parking lot is also near a MARTA station.

    Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington said Nichols took a MARTA train toward Lenox after abandoning the Honda Accord in the parking garage. It is not clear at what time on Friday he may have left the garage.

    Authorities next received information about two people allegedly assaulted in the 3200 block of Lenox Road by Nichols. The victims were in Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament. No other details were released regarding those assaults.

    Between 6:30 and 7 a.m., a construction worker found the body of the Immigration and Customs agent at his residence on 926 Canter Road and alerted authorities, Pennington said. Authorities believe he was killed Friday evening.

    Nichols is suspected in the murder.

    The agent’s truck, gun and identification were missing. Authorities issued a lookout for the truck and it was found in the vicinity of the Gwinnett County apartment complex where Nichols was captured.

    Second Trial for Suspect
    According to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Nichols had apparently tried to sneak weapons into the courthouse on Thursday.

    "It was a weapon that is commonly called a shank. We understand that it was made from a door knob. It is something that can be filed down, filed against the wall of a brick and a weapon can be made from it," he said.

    After Nichols was transported back to the jail yesterday, two metal shanks were found -– one in each shoe, Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Gayle Abramson said.

    Following the discovery of the shanks, Judge Barnes and the attorneys in the case asked for additional security.

    "We asked the sheriff’s department to increase security. Now, we don’t know exactly what the sheriff did, but we did let them know that we were somewhat concerned with this defendant and what the arrangements were, we don’t know," Howard said.

    Aside from a rape charge stemming from an incident in August, Nichols was facing charges of sodomy, possession of a machine gun, possession of a handgun, and possession of a large quantity of marijuana. His first trial ended with a hung jury. A second trial started Monday.

    "We tried him two weeks ago and we had a hung jury. It involved a case that involved his ex-girlfriend. He broke into the ex-girlfriend’s house. She was bound with duct tape. Once she was bound with duct tape, he actually brought a cooler into her place and the cooler was stocked with food and he told her was going to be there and assault her for three days (until) her birthday. One of the things he also brought in with him was a loaded machine gun," Howard said.

    "He did in fact assault her, he repeatedly threatened her family, repeatedly threatened her, and he repeatedly threatened her new boyfriend," Howard added.

    "We think what set him off is that he was coming back a second time," Howard said. "I think he realized that he might get convicted this time, that he might not get a chance to walk out and we believe that he came with the intent to make sure that didn’t happen."