ATLANTA -- Jurors say they cannot reach a unanimous sentencing decision in the case against a man who killed a judge and three other people in a shooting spree that started in a downtown Atlanta courthouse, but they have been told to try again.
Superior Court Judge James Bodiford ordered the jury to continue deliberating. The split is 9-3. The judge did not ask the jurors which way the majority is leaning. The jury has deliberated for almost 20 hours.
Prosecutors had asked the jury to sentence Brian Nichols to death. If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, Georgia law requires the judge to decide whether to sentence the 37-year-old to life in prison with parole eligibility or life in prison without parole.
Nichols was convicted last month of murder and dozens of other counts in the 2005 killings. Nichols was on trial for rape when he grabbed a guard's gun and fatally shot the judge, a court reporter and a sheriff's deputy in the courthouse. He fled and killed a federal agent in an Atlanta neighborhood.