Nightly News   |  July 25, 2011

Alleged killer brought to court

The man accused of the killing spree in Norway made his first court appearance. Anders Behring Breivik admitted that he carried out the killings, but claimed that he was not guilty. NBC’s Martin Fletcher reports from Oslo.

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now we turn to that shocking killing spree in Norway . The man accused of murder in this tragedy was in court today, but behind closed doors because they wanted to deprive him of a public platform to vent his views. A big question in that badly wounded nation, did he act alone? And there's a new death toll in this, as well. NBC 's Martin Fletcher 's been covering the story from the start. He's with us tonight from Oslo . Martin , good evening.

MARTIN FLETCHER reporting: Hi. Good evening, Brian . Norway 's police today said fewer people have been killed than thought, not 93 as they had said but 76, with some still missing. Well, that's small relief for a country that can hardly believe what just happened. Anders Breivik was brought to court this morning, the face of a mass killer. Police described him as calm and unaffected. Breivik admitted that he carried out the killings, but claimed he was not guilty. The judge ordered him held in custody for eight weeks, the first four in solitary confinement. An hour earlier across Norway , two minute silence for his victims. Later, a mass march through Oslo in memory of the victims was canceled at the last minute, too many people came.

Unidentified Man: I think we're trying to take the city back to show human energy after such a -- such a powerful and vicious act.

FLETCHER: But then chilling news. Police reveal Breivik told them there were two other terror cells. In his 1500 -page manifesto posted on the Internet last week, Breivik wrote that in 2002 he met with nine people from eight countries to map out an anti-Muslim crusade. So now police are investigating. Are there any more Breiviks out there? Breivik told his lawyer there are.

Mr. GEIR LIPPESTAD (Breivik's Lawyer): He explained that he has cells in different countries, I don't know how many countries and I don't know which countries, but that it has cells in lots of countries.

FLETCHER: Norwegian police say they don't believe this, but can't discount it either. On the Internet , Breivik called for a Christian war to defend Europe against Muslim domination. How to respond to Muslim immigration is an issue that already divides Europe , but peacefully. In Switzerland , mosque minarets have been banned. In Belgium , burqas banned. France , burqas and praying in the streets banned. While this weekend, right-wing leaders in Europe rejected all forms of violence. They don't want this to happen again. In Norway , if one image sums up the nation's pain, it is this. As emergency workers mourn, others break into the national anthem. Brian , here outside Oslo Cathedral , the center of the mourning, there's just a sense of disbelief. And as for Breivik , he told the court that he expects to spend the rest of his life in prison; but in Norway , where there's no death penalty, the maximum punishment is 21 years. That means Breivik , if found guilty, could be out of jail in -- by the age of 53. Brian :

WILLIAMS: All right, Martin Fletcher in the very sad city of Oslo , Norway , tonight. Martin , thanks.