Suspect in Atlanta Courthouse Triple Murder Surrenders to Police

Suspect had previously tried to smuggle a homemade knife into courthouse by hiding it in his shoes


On Thursday, the judge and prosecutors in Nichols' case requested extra security after investigators found a shank - or homemade knife - fashioned from a doorknob in each of Nichols' shoes, prosecutor Gayle Abramson said.

District Attorney Paul 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.

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, Hazen said. 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.

Nichols faced a possible life sentence if convicted in his retrial on charges of rape, sodomy, burglary, and false imprisonment, among others. His earlier trial was declared a mistrial on Monday when jurors voted 8-4 for acquittal.

"My guts tell me he faced a greater chance of conviction in the second trial,'' his attorney, Barry Hazen, told a local television station.

Prosecutor Gayle Abramson said she believes Nichols, who had been jailed since Aug. 23, was certain he would be convicted and was willing to kill to avoid it.

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.

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