06/23/2009

Ga. courthouse security still a worry after '05 spree

By Greg Bluestein
Associated Press

ATLANTA —  Fulton County's courthouse, where a rape defendant killed a judge and three others and escaped four years ago, still doesn't have a security plan as the law requires.

Three years after lawmakers outraged by the killings in Atlanta's seat of justice mandated that every sheriff adopt such a plan, sheriffs in as many as 14 counties haven't done so, according to the state sheriffs' association.

The delays worry officials who fear a replay of Brian Nichols' murderous rampage in 2005, when he wrested a gun from a sheriff's deputy and killed a judge, a court reporter, a deputy and a federal agent. Nichols was sentenced in December to life without parole.

Former state Sen. Joseph Carter, who sponsored the law requiring the security plans, said he's particularly unsettled by the lack of one at the vast Fulton County Courthouse, a sprawling downtown complex where thousands of people pass through daily.

Read full story here: Ga. courthouse security still a worry after spree

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