For 24 agonizing hours, the world was on pins and needles as live coverage of Brian Nichols, an accused killer on the loose, poured out of Atlanta. At the center of that storm was Ashley Smith, the young woman held hostage, who allegedly talked her way to freedom.
On the morning of that fateful day, prisoner Brian Nichols, accused of brutally raping his girlfriend, was on his way to an Atlanta courthouse. Nichols allegedly attacked his sole escort, sheriff's deputy Cynthia Hall, critically injuring her before taking her gun.
Armed and dangerous, it was reported that Brian Nichols entered the courthouse and took three hostages. He allegedly made his way to the courtroom of Judge Rowland Barnes, who was presiding over his rape trial, and is accused of shooting and killing Judge Barnes and a court reporter.
Amidst the ensuing chaos, Nichols escaped and allegedly shot and killed another victim before heading to a nearby parking garage. There, he is accused of violently assaulting a reporter and stealing his car. He then fled the scene.
A massive manhunt commenced, but hours later Nichols allegedly killed again, this time stealing his victim's gun and pickup truck.