Judge refuses to delay trial in Atlanta courthouse shooting

Monday, December 4th 2006, 9:32 pm
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) A man accused of killing four people in a shooting spree that started inside a courthouse will go to trial next month as planned, a judge ruled Monday, rejecting a defense request for more time.

Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller left open the possibility of delaying Brian Nichols' trial if the state Supreme Court agrees to hear a defense appeal of other pretrial rulings by Fuller.

Defense lawyer Gary Parker did not immediately return several phone calls or respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Nichols is charged in a 54-count indictment with murder, kidnapping, carjacking, escape and other offenses. He has pleaded not guilty.

He is accused of grabbing a deputy's gun and killing a judge, court reporter and a sheriff's deputy March 11, 2005, at the downtown Fulton County Courthouse, where he was being retried on rape charges. He's also charged with killing a federal agent at a home a few miles from the courthouse.

Police said Nichols took a woman hostage in her suburban Atlanta apartment but surrendered the next day.

His trial is to begin January 11th. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.