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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 March, 2005, 19:29 GMT
Court killings suspect arrested
AN FBI agent leads Nichols to a car
The arrest followed the biggest manhunt in the state's history
A man suspected of shooting dead a judge and two others at a court in Atlanta has been arrested after a standoff at a flat north of the city.

A massive manhunt involving hundreds of policemen had been launched to capture Brian Nichols, 33, who had fled the court after the shootings on Friday.

The man, who was armed and had taken a woman hostage, is said to have been detained without incident.

He is also now wanted for questioning over the murder of a customs agent.

The officer was found dead several miles north of the courtroom on Saturday, and a spokesman from the Atlanta Police Department said they were not sure whether the death was linked to the suspect.

The arrest took place at an apartment complex in Gwinnett County north of Atlanta, after a woman called the police to say the man had entered her flat.

She later escaped unharmed.

Nichols is said to have come out of the building, which had been surrounded by a special weapons team, waving a white cloth.


A reward of $60,000 (31,000) had been offered for his capture, and several schools, restaurants and office buildings closed down in Atlanta for fear that he might strike again.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Friday's was the largest manhunt in the state's history.

Mr Nichols was facing a possible life sentence for rape, assault and false imprisonment.

Prosecutors accuse him of breaking into the home of a former girlfriend, tying her up with duct tape and subjecting her to sexual assaults over three days.

The defendant denied the charges, saying the sex was consensual.

Gayle Abramson, lead prosecutor in the case, said she believed the suspect was probably sure he would be convicted and was "seeking revenge on the criminal justice system".

Police say Mr Nichols wounded the female sheriff's deputy escorting him outside the courtroom on Friday, before entering the room and taking those inside hostage.

He then allegedly shot dead Judge Rowland Barnes, one of the most senior judges in Atlanta, and a stenographer.

Making his escape from the building, he is also said to have shot dead a second sheriff's deputy.

The female officer wounded in the shooting is said to be in critical condition but is expected to survive.

See the scene when the suspect is arrested

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