[Vision2020] Re: More facts...

Fiat Lux fiat_lx at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 14 08:19:53 PST 2005

Ignore what I write if you need to, but please read
the article below.  

Can you think of a man in Ms. Smith's position that
would have had the same response to being held
hostage?   Would he have had the patience to talk with
Nichols about God, family, and make him pancakes with
real butter?   I submit that no man could have
established the rapport with Nichols that Ms. Smith
It was very ill-advised to assign Deputy Hall, a 
"petite 51 year old grandmother" as the sole deputy to
handle a 33 year old, 6'1", 210 lb athletic rape
defendant, who raised security concerns when he was
caught smuggling "weapons" into the courtroom a day or
two before?  I'll bet her family is pretty disgusted
with the whole thing.  I'd demand a review of the
policy that allowed such a horrible thing to happen. 

God bless both of these women.

Fiat Lux

Article published Mar 14, 2005

’I believe God brought him to my door’ — Woman taken
hostage recounts her hours with armed suspect

Associated Press Writer

ATLANTA (AP) — For hours, Ashley Smith gently talked
to the armed suspect in Atlanta’s courthouse slayings,
turning from hostage to confidant as they discussed
God, family, pancakes and the massive manhunt going on
outside her apartment.

“I believe God brought him to my door,” Smith said
Sunday, only hours after her 911 call ended a manhunt
for Brian Nichols, who is accused of shooting four
people since Friday.

Over the course of the night, Nichols untied Smith,
and some of the fear lessened as they talked. Nichols
told Smith he felt like “he was already dead,” but
Smith urged him to consider the fact that he was still
alive a “miracle.”

“You’re here in my apartment for some reason,” she
told him, saying he might be destined to be caught and
to spread the word of God to fellow prisoners. She
told him his escape from authorities had been a

Smith, 33, later called 911 after she was freed, and
police soon surrounded her suburban apartment complex.
Nichols gave up peacefully, waving a white towel in

“I honestly think when I looked at him that he didn’t
want to do it anymore,” Smith said. If he did not give
up, she told him, “Lots more people are probably going
get hurt and you’re probably going to die.”

Police said they were impressed by the way Smith
handled herself.

“She acted very cool and levelheaded. We don’t
normally see that in our profession,” said Gwinnett
County Police Officer Darren Moloney. “It was an
absolutely best-case scenario that happened, a
complete opposite of what you expected to happen. We
were prepared for the worst and got the best.”

The crime spree began when Nichols allegedly
overpowered a courthouse deputy escorting him to his
rape trial Friday and took the deputy’s gun, then
killed the presiding judge and court reporter. He also
is accused of killing a deputy who tried to stop him
outside the courthouse and a federal agent during his
flight from authorities.

Smith said her ordeal began around 2 a.m. Saturday
morning with Nichols sticking a gun in her side in the
parking lot of her apartment when she returned from a

He tied her up and told her to sit in the bathroom
while he took a shower. “He said, ‘I’m not going to
hurt you if you just do what I say,”’ she said. He
told her: “I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to
hurt anybody else.”

Choking back tears Sunday, she said she told Nichols
that her husband died four years ago and if he hurt
her, her little girl wouldn’t have a mother or father.
Smith’s attorney, Josh Archer, said her husband died
in her arms after being stabbed.

The two talked about the Bible and she handed him
photos of her family. When morning came, Nichols was
“overwhelmed” when Smith made him pancakes with real
butter, she said. He told her he “just wanted some
normalness to his life,” she said.

The two watched television news reports about the
slayings and the manhunt. “I cannot believe that’s me
on there,” Smith quoted Nichols as saying.

When Nichols finally let Smith go to see her
5-year-old daughter, he said he wanted to stay at the
apartment for a few more days. She said she thought he
knew she was going to call 911 after she left.

Nichols could appear in federal court as early as
Monday to face a charge of possession of a firearm by
a person under indictment, the charge authorities are
using to keep Nichols in custody while they sort out
charging in the slayings, said U.S. Attorney David

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office hopes to
formally charge Nichols with the new crimes within 30
days, spokesman Erik Friedly said Sunday. Fulton
County District Attorney Paul Howard still would like
to resolve Nichols’ interrupted rape retrial.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that
a courthouse surveillance camera recorded Nichols’
initial surprise attack on Deputy Cynthia Hall but
that no one in the control center noticed the assault.

“It’s not just horrible, it was preventable,” Senior
Superior Court Judge Philip Etheridge told the

A video camera, which is supposed to be monitored by
two guards in a command post, shows Nichols and the
deputy arriving in the holding area between two
courtrooms, according to a law enforcement official
who saw the tape. The video shows Hall guiding
Nichols, whose hands are still handcuffed behind his
back, into one of two open cells.

Hall releases one cuff and turns Nichols around to
unhook the remaining cuff. But the muscular,
33-year-old Nichols then lunges at Hall, knocking the
petite, 51-year-old grandmother backward into another
cell. Both disappear from camera view. Two to three
minutes later, Nichols emerges from the cell, holding
Hall’s gun belt and police radio. He picks up her keys
from the floor and locks her in the cell.

A few minutes later, he emerges in civilian clothes.
He locks the door behind him and calmly walks out of
the holding area, carrying the gun belt, according to
the official who saw the tape.

Judge Etheridge said Hall should not have been alone
with Nichols, a former college linebacker who had been
found with two sharpened door hinges in his socks
earlier in the week.

Hall remained in critical condition Sunday, Grady
Memorial Hospital officials said. Killed were Superior
Court Judge Rowland Barnes, court reporter Julie
Brandau, Sgt. Hoyt Teasley and U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement agent David Wilhelm.

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