Decision won't delay Nichols trial

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ATLANTA --- A judge Wednesday said he is "very likely" to order a full hearing be held that would address whether the lead prosecutor on accused courthouse shooter Brian Nichols' rape case engaged in criminal activity.

Defense attorney Robert McGlasson (left) confers with Brian Nichols in Atlanta. Mr. Nichols' trial is set to resume July 10.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Defense attorney Robert McGlasson (left) confers with Brian Nichols in Atlanta. Mr. Nichols' trial is set to resume July 10.

Superior Court Judge James Bodiford acknowledged that if he holds an evidentiary hearing and witnesses are called to testify, he will have difficult decisions to make.

Mr. Nichols' lawyers have asked Judge Bodiford to bar District Attorney Paul Howard's office from seeking the death penalty and from using evidence from the rape case in Mr. Nichols' murder trial, which is set to resume July 10.

Mr. Nichols is charged with escaping from custody in 2005 during his rape trial at the Fulton County Courthouse and killing the judge presiding over the trial, a court reporter chronicling the proceeding, a sheriff's deputy who chased him outside and a federal agent he encountered at a home a few miles away that night. He surrendered the next day after allegedly taking a woman hostage in her suburban Atlanta home.

Judge Bodiford did not issue a decision on the defense requests or say when he plans to decide on an evidentiary hearing. He did make clear that whatever happens, the repeatedly delayed murder trial will move forward on schedule. He denied a defense request Wednesday to postpone the trial yet again.

"The trial is really going forward on July 10," Judge Bodiford said. "There's no question about that."

The murder trial is scheduled to take place in the same downtown Atlanta courthouse complex where the March 11, 2005, shooting spree began. Efforts to move the trial to a nearby courthouse have not been successful.

The defense has accused Mr. Howard of improperly withholding information about police recordings implicating Gayle Abramson, the prosecutor on the rape case, in criminal activity. The details about the allegation have been filed under seal.

Ms. Abramson has called the allegation inaccurate, and Mr. Howard has said he wasn't obligated to disclose it to Mr. Nichols' lawyers.

If an evidentiary hearing is held, it would likely include testimony from witnesses, including current and former members of the district attorney's office.

The defense has said it will argue at trial that Mr. Nichols suffered a "delusional compulsion" that "overmastered" his will to resist committing the killings. They have said he should, therefore, be found not guilty by reason of mental illness.

Prosecutors sought Wednesday to secure an order to allow them to get records of a psychiatric examination they believe Mr. Nichols had two years ago. Judge Bodiford said he would consider the request.

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patriciathomas 07/03/08 - 03:37 am
The lawyers are making a

The lawyers are making a killing off of this case. The taxpayers are paying.

christian134 07/03/08 - 07:19 am
I believe at this moment the

I believe at this moment the single most irritating thing is the smile at the camera look McGlasson has on his face...Must be contemplating the upswing in his career if he wins the evidentiary hearing...The folks this killer put in their graves must be insignificant compared to Mr. Nichol's rights...

Farful 07/03/08 - 12:16 pm
Just more ridiculous lawyer

Just more ridiculous lawyer crap. You're paying for it. Escape from custody, kill a few people, hold one hostage. Why isn't he finished ? Send him to Texas.

Farful 07/03/08 - 12:22 pm
He suffered a " delusional

He suffered a " delusional compulsion" that "overmastered" his will. Is this nuts or is it just me ?

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