Handout photo of suspect in Atlanta shootings
Brian Nichols, in a photo released March 11 by Georgia authorities.
updated 5/5/2005 7:51:05 PM ET 2005-05-05T23:51:05

Courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols was indicted Thursday on murder charges in the March 11 rampage that left four people dead, including a judge. The district attorney said he will seek the death penalty.

Nichols, 33, allegedly overpowered a deputy, stole her gun and went on a shooting spree at the Fulton County Courthouse while awaiting trial on rape charges. He was captured a day later.

The grand jury that indicted him met five floors below the courtroom where the bloodbath occurred. He was indicted on charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery and escape.

Nichols is accused of fatally shooting Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and his court reporter inside the courtroom. Outside the courthouse, police say, Nichols killed a sheriff’s deputy and later killed a federal agent.

District Attorney Paul Howard said he will pursue the death penalty. No trial date has been set. An arraignment likely will be held within two weeks, a prosecution spokesman said.

Defense lawyers declined to comment as they left the district attorney’s office before the indictment was announced.

Nichols was being retried in a rape case when he escaped from a deputy and allegedly killed the four. After the shootings, the rape case was declared a mistrial. Nichols’ first trial ended in a mistrial as well.

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