updated 12/11/2008 4:11:07 PM ET 2008-12-11T21:11:07

Jurors said Thursday they were deadlocked on whether Brian Nichols should be put to death for killing a judge and three other people in a shooting rampage that started in a downtown Atlanta courthouse.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge James Bodiford told the jurors to continue deliberating. The jury has already deliberated for almost 20 hours.

Prosecutors had asked the jury to sentence 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.

The same jury convicted Nichols 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 committed the killings.

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