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Judge delays Atlanta courthouse gunman's trial

March 29, 2006
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Judge delays Atlanta courthouse gunman's trial

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ATLANTA--A judge on Wednesday delayed the start of a murder trial for a man accused of killing four people in a rampage that started inside the same courthouse where he is expected to stand trial.

Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller cited the complexity of the case in ruling that jury selection would start Jan. 11 instead of Oct. 3. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Brian Nichols, 34, has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the March 11, 2005, shootings. A judge and court reporter were killed inside the courthouse, a sheriff's deputy was killed outside and a federal agent was killed a few miles away.

At the time, Nichols was being retried on charges that he raped an off-and-on girlfriend when he allegedly grabbed a deputy's gun and started shooting.

He surrendered the next day after allegedly taking a woman hostage in her suburban apartment.

Prosecutors say Nichols confessed to the killings while speaking to police. His attorneys are seeking to have his statements to police barred from the trial.

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