Brian Nichols: Where is the Killer Now?

In the episode titled ‘Nichols’ of ‘World’s Most Dangerous Prisoners,’ the viewers get acquainted with an alleged rapist named Brian Nichols and the various murders he committed within a single day during the final day of his retrial. The 33-year-old mass murderer was on the run for several hours before he was confined to handcuffs and brought to justice. Thanks to the exclusive interviews with the officials directly or indirectly linked to the case, the episode provides even the intricate details about the fugitive.

Brian Nichols Was Accused of Raping His Ex-Lover

Brian Gene Nichols was born to Clathera and Gene on December 10, 1971, in a middle-class family in Baltimore, Maryland. While his mother was a retired IRS worker, his father was an entrepreneur. During his years at Cardinal Gibbons School, he earned a reputation for being a talented sportsperson. He took his football talents to Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, where he studied from 1989 to 1990. Apart from his sporting talents, he also gained notoriety for always ending up in or causing trouble. As per reports, he was arrested at least three times while he studied at the university. One time, he was arrested for giving terroristic threats, assault, harassment, and disorderly conduct in the dining hall of the university. Out of them, he pleaded guilty to the two lesser charges.

Image Credit: 11Alive

Moreover, after a few months, he was arrested twice a month for disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing, misdemeanor, and criminal mischief. However, all these charges were dropped later on. At the age of 21, he was kicked out of his college’s football team after being accused of stealing. In 1995, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he landed a steady job at Hewlett-Packard and UPS. Soon, he also got into a relationship with a woman. He had joined the company in March 2004 but had to leave in September of the same year when he was arrested for raping his former girlfriend and also charged with kidnapping and assault.

As the first trial, which began on February 21, 2005, ended with a hung jury after just five days, Nichols’ friends and family believed that he might be scheming to escape the jail with one of his friends as there was time till the second trial commenced. After a few weeks, the retrial of Brian Nichols got underway on March 7, 2005. Everything had been going smoothly in the trial until the last day. On March 11, 2005, all hell broke loose when Brian attacked the Sheriff Deputy in charge of escorting him to the Fulton County Courthouse. Not only did he steal her pistol, he also assaulted her into a coma.

Brian Wreaked Havoc in the Courtroom and Fleed the Scene

After changing into civilian clothing, he made his way towards the courtroom. On his way, he encountered Grantley White and took him hostage as he walked into the judge’s office, where he ordered Grantley to handcuff his associates. Meanwhile, the hostage managed to set off an alarm, indicating a dangerous situation to the authorities. Upon reaching the courtroom, Brian shot Judge Rowland Barnes and court reporter Julie Ann Brandau to death. While he was fleeing the scene, he also fatally shot down Sergeant Hoyt Teasley. As he was on the run from the authorities, Brian carjacked many vehicles and even got featured on America’s Most Wanted. Several hours later, he shot down an off-duty federal agent named David G. Wilhelm before stealing his badge, gun, and truck.

As the police announced a $65,000 reward for any information that could lead to the arrest of Brian Nichols, he searched for a place to hide. So, he broke into Ashley Smith’s apartment in Duluth, Georgia. Held hostage at gunpoint, the single mother managed to stay alive by talking to him about God and forgiveness, gaining his trust in the process. She even gave him methamphetamine and told him about her husband’s tragic death. On the break of dawn, she even prepared a few pancakes for him and convinced him to turn himself in. Moreover, she was able to persuade him to leave the house to meet with her daughter. As soon as she got the chance, Ashley dialed 911 and got Brian arrested at her apartment on the morning of March 12, 2005.

When Brian was taken to a police station in Atlanta, he ended up confessing his crimes in detail on video. Finally, on May 5, 2005, he was officially indicted on 54 counts, which included felony murder, murder, aggravated assault, carjacking, kidnapping, armed robbery, and escape from authorities. After more than three years, the trial commenced on September 22, 2008, where the defendant pleaded not guilty and blamed his mental health for the crimes. Although he was spared multiple death sentences, Brian received multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole on December 13, 2008. After his sentence, he was held at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Jackson, Georgia.

Brian Nichols is Still Behind Bars in the Same Georgia Prison

About 8 years after Brian Nichols was sentenced to life in prison, WSBTV interviewed him at length in May 2016. When asked his reasons or motives for the killing spree, he opened up, “I can’t even begin to make sense or answer questions about why I did something that was wrong, that was irrational.” He also claimed that he was delusional at the time. During the conversation, he was asked if it was true or if he was deceiving the detectives. To this, he replied, “No. That was a part of the delusion. I said a lot of things to justify my delusion.”

Brian also expressed his guilt, saying, “I don’t know what I could actually say to, you know, express my apologies. Words sometimes are not enough.” At the time, he claimed that he was not being abused or mistreated in any illegal way in the prison. Although he was allowed one hour out of his cell on a daily basis, he was highly protected during that time. He was also asked about his opinion on escaping prison again in the interview. He said, “And do what exactly? What is most important is that I’m able to see my family.”

Brian concluded, “If I’m out running around in the woods trying to hide from helicopters with infrared cameras and SWAT teams with night vision goggles, I’m not going to be able to go home and see my family. I’m going to be running around in the woods and sleeping in the woods. I’ve kind of been there and done that. As bad as prison is, it’s a much better existence than being on the run.” He is still serving his sentence at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Jackson.

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