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Courthouse killer's life is in the jury's hands

  • Story Highlights
  • Jury deliberating death penalty for courthouse killer Brian Nichols
  • Closing arguments were heard Monday
  • Nichols found guilty of killing judge, deputy, stenographer, federal agent
  • Prosecutors say slayings were part of March 2005 escape attempt
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A jury spent Tuesday deliberating the fate of Brian Nichols for the 2005 shooting deaths of four people, including three at a downtown Atlanta courthouse, without reaching a verdict.

Brian Nichols was found guilty of murdering four people and now faces the dealth penalty.

The jury will resume deliberations Wednesday morning.

Prosecutor Clint Rucker called Monday for the jury to give Nichols the death penalty for the 2005 shooting deaths of four people, including three at a courthouse during an escape attempt.

"He did it once, and he will do it again. He is conniving, he is cold-blooded, he is vicious, and he is remorseless, and he is extremely, extremely dangerous," the prosecutor said.

Nichols was convicted last month of killing a judge and a court reporter in the Fulton County Courthouse, where he was being tried for rape.

He also was convicted of killing a sheriff's deputy outside the courthouse and a federal agent in northern Atlanta before being taken into custody 26 hours after his escape.

Nichols was arrested in neighboring Gwinnett County, where he had held a woman hostage in her apartment.

During the penalty phase of Nichols' trial, jurors heard emotional testimony from relatives of the shooting victims. They also heard about Nichols' middle-class childhood in Baltimore, Maryland, his relationship with the woman who accused him of raping her and his thwarted attempts to escape from jail as he awaited trial.

Defense attorney Henderson Hill urged jurors to consider Nichols' life in full context and spare him. He told the jury Nichols was sexually abused and bullied as a child and often stood up for the weak, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

If the jury decides to spare Nichols' life, he could receive a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In the nearly two years since the jurors were called to hear the case, more than 1,000 pieces of evidence have been submitted, and more than 140 witnesses have testified.

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