March 15, 2005

Nichols arraigned on rape charges; denied bail

Brian Nichols, the suspect at the center of the largest manhunt in the history of the state of Georgia, was arraigned this morning on the rape charges that were the subject of the trial he disrupted when this whole mess started last Friday morning.

Nichols was charged more specifically with rape, aggravated assault with intent to rape, aggravated sodomy, false imprisonment, burglary and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

A handful of fully armed Fulton County depties escorted Nichols into a magistrate courtroom at the Fulton County Jail, where two public defenders waited to defend him.

Wearing a navy blue jail uniform, Nichols walked into the courtroom with his feet shackled and his hands cuffed and chained around the waist.

A total of 15 Fulton sheriff’s deputies were in the courtroom at the time. Ten of them came from the special tactical unit and were armed, while five other sheriff’s deputies did not have guns inside of their holsters.

Two public defenders, Chris Adams and Gary Parker from the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, represented Nichols. They presented a motion challenging the Fulton magistrates’ appointment of Judge Cox to preside at the status hearing.

To that end, all Fulton magistrates had recused themselves from the case on Monday, but not before appointing Cobb County Magistrate Judge Frank Cox to preside at the status hearing.

At the hearing, the public defender claimed Cox should never have been appointed by the Fulton court officials. Judge Cox denied the motion and continued Nichols’ denial of bond.

Fulton Assistant District Attorney Michele McCutheon said that the DA's office will file murder charges along with a laundry list of other charges at a later date. That investigation is ongoing, and is being taken slowly enough to ensure that no mistakes are made.

Posted by mhking at March 15, 2005 12:27 PM
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