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Nichols' brother: 'We're here for him'

Suspect's older sibling says 'everybody's just devastated'

Mark Nichols says he always looked up to his younger brother.
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Atlanta (Georgia)

(CNN) -- The brother of Brian Nichols remembers his younger sibling as the stable one who excelled intellectually and athletically -- and the last person he'd have expected to soon face murder charges.

"Honestly, anybody in my family will probably think that I would have been the one in that situation," Mark Nichols told CNN's Larry King Tuesday. "Never in a million years would they have expected it would have been my brother."

A cousin told Mark Nichols, " 'Man, I would expect that from you, not Brian. I just can't believe this,' " he said.

Mark Nichols, 37, said he has had various run-ins with the law over the years and that it was his younger brother of four years who always came to his aid when he needed it.

"I'm the older brother, but I looked up to him as if he were my older brother," he said.

Mark Nichols, a barber, said he was at work in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday when he first heard reports of a shooting at a courthouse in Atlanta.

Soon afterward, he learned his brother was accused of carrying out the courthouse rampage that left a Superior Court judge, a court reporter and a sheriff's deputy dead.

Their parents are currently living in Tanzania. He said he has spoken about what transpired with his mother -- a former Internal Revenue Service employee -- although he has not had a chance to talk with his jailed brother.

"Everybody's just devastated," he said. "That's my only brother, and I love him. And I want him to know that we all still love him, we're not turning against him, we're here for him. You know, it's hurting me. It really is."

He said he is still shell-shocked by the entire ordeal: "It's like a dream. All of this is like a dream, you know, that I hope I can wake up from."

He said his brother worked eight years for Hewlett-Packard, making roughly "six figures" annually. "He's a smart person."

Brian Nichols was facing a retrial on rape, aggravated sodomy and other charges when authorities say he went on the rampage Friday. He led authorities on what they called the largest manhunt in Georgia history before he surrendered Saturday after he allegedly struck again, killing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who was working on his home still under construction.

Family friend Jay Henry said he was so close with Brian Nichols growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, that he considered him "my little brother."

"All of this is extremely surprising because not once did we see any violence from Brian," he said. "It all comes as a surprising shock to us."

Mark Nichols would not comment about the current investigation or the rape trials. However, he said he knew the woman making the allegations and that their mother considered her the "daughter that she never had."

"My brother isn't a monster like he's been portrayed to be. He may be a big person as far as physically, but he's gentle. He's laid-back."

He said he has been reflecting about all the good times he shared with his brother -- playing football, celebrating Thanksgiving, barbecuing. And it's starting to sink in that he may never get that opportunity again.

"It's not going to get any easier, I know that," he said, adding, "I'll always be there for him. Always."

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