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Nichols to make court appearance today

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Ashley Smith details her experience as a hostage.

The grandparents of Ashley Smith talk about their granddaughter.

A woman's 911 call led to Nichols' capture.

Atlanta (Georgia)
Crime, Law and Justice

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Brian Nichols -- who became the subject of the largest manhunt in Georgia history after a deadly courthouse rampage last Friday -- will make an initial court appearance Tuesday morning at the Fulton County Jail, authorities said.

In an interview with CNN's Paula Zahn, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Monday Nichols made a statement to police after his arrest.

"I can say he gave a statement, and he was cooperative," Howard said, adding that his duties as prosecutor prevented him from going into further detail.

Howard said he saw Nichols shortly after he was taken into custody and he appeared to be "someone who was proud of what he had done -- that he did not show remorse."

"From the responses that I was able to see personally, that's the impression that I received," the district attorney said.

Nichols, 33, is accused of killing a state judge, a court reporter and a sheriff's deputy, then killing a federal agent who was working on his home in Atlanta's Buckhead section.

Nichols is being held without bond on charges of rape, aggravated sodomy and false imprisonment. The Fulton County District Attorney's Office said no new charges would be filed at the 10 a.m. Tuesday hearing, while authorities continue to build their case.

"This will be a brief hearing," the DA's office said in a statement, which went on to say Howard "will formally charge the defendant on numerous other counts at a later date."

Earlier Monday, a judge declared a mistrial in Nichols' retrial on the rape, aggravated sodomy and false imprisonment charges. Nichols' trial was under way when the shootings erupted.

Tuesday's appearance, at a courthouse within the jail facility, will be the first time the public has seen Nichols since he was captured Saturday in a suburb northeast of Atlanta.

The Fulton County Courthouse reopened Monday, just 72 hours after the rampage. Among the tight-knit courthouse community, there was a mix of tears and hugs, determination and reflection.

"The situation at the courthouse is indeed very somber," said Barbara Lattimore, the director of the Fulton County Mental Health Department. "People are still in shock."

The Rev. Howard Creecy, a county chaplain, said the shootings had fractured the "whole fellowship of the Fulton County family."

"You are now profoundly presented with the fact that you were indeed not as safe as you always thought you were," he said. He said employees "are expressing vocally a relationship that exists between them that perhaps previously had been unspoken."

While people at the courthouse tried to cope with the tragedy, authorities moved ahead with their case against Nichols, who surrendered in suburban Atlanta 26 hours after the ordeal began.

After keeping Ashley Smith, 26, hostage overnight in her apartment in Gwinnett County, authorities said Nichols finally let her leave, after she developed a rapport with him. She then called police, who surrounded the apartment, prompting Nichols to give up.

Smith said she was taken captive early Saturday morning, but she gained Nichols' trust by talking to him about her 5-year-old daughter, God and hope. She even made him pancakes. (Full story)

"She's a remarkable lady," said Maj. Bart Hulsey, commander of Gwinnett County's SWAT team. "She managed to make a rapport with him and made herself a person, not just an object, and she has an amazing capability for survival."

Smith's grandfather, Dick Machovec, said her granddaughter told the family last year she was going to do something "to make you proud of me."

"That was this weekend," he said.

But Smith downplayed her efforts Monday night.

"Throughout my time with Mr. Nichols, I continued to rely [on] my faith in God. God has helped me through tough times before, and he'll help me now," she told reporters in Augusta, Georgia.

"It's natural to focus on the conclusion of any story, but my role was really very small in the grand scheme of things. The real heroes were the judicial and law enforcement officials who gave their lives and those who risked their lives to bring this to an end," she said.

Authorities said Nichols was placed Monday in the custody of the Fulton County Sheriff's Department after a federal firearms charge was dropped, paving the way for Georgia to file the first charges against him.

The rampage began Friday morning, when the former linebacker overpowered a female sheriff's deputy in a holding area as his handcuffs were being taken off so that he could change his clothes, authorities said.

They struggled for about three minutes, with Nichols grabbing some keys from her and taking her gun from a lockbox. He then walked calmly across a bridge from the new courthouse building to the old building where Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes' eighth-floor courtroom was located.

He briefly took several people hostage, including another deputy who was disarmed by Nichols, authorities said. Authorities said he then went into the courtroom and killed Barnes, who had been presiding over his rape trial, and court reporter Julie Ann Brandau.

Sgt. Hoyt Teasley of the Fulton County Sheriff's Department was killed on the street outside the courthouse as Nichols escaped, authorities said. Several carjackings later, with a massive search under way, authorities said Nichols apparently hopped a MARTA transit train to Atlanta's upscale Buckhead neighborhood, where he found U.S. Customs Agent David Wilhelm working alone at his home, which was under construction.

Nichols shot and killed Wilhelm and took his vehicle, eventually making his way to Smith's apartment in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth, where he held her hostage for seven hours before letting her go to see her daughter, authorities said.

Prosecutors have not said if they will seek the death penalty, but Howard said the string of shootings was among "the most horrendous crimes" local law enforcement had ever seen.

"We plan to charge him with the murders of the four Fulton County residents," Howard said. "We plan to charge him with a number of aggravated assaults, carjackings. It's going to be a rather large indictment."

Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington told CNN Monday that authorities would "critique this entire incident and see what we did right; what we did wrong; admit the things that we did wrong; and then try to make sure we rectify those things in the future."

"I've had some pretty devastating things happen to me throughout my police career, but I think this is probably one of the most devastating events," said Pennington, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement.

CNN's David Mattingly and Kimberly Osias contributed to this report.

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