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Four years ago, Ashley Smith witnessed her husband's murder. Since that tragic night, Ashley says she battled an addiction to crystal meth. Unable to control her drug addiction, she gave up custody of her 5-year-old daughter, Paige. After spending time in drug rehab, Ashley was starting over with a new job as a waitress and had just moved into a new apartment.

The day of Brian Nichols's alleged killing spree, Ashley was busy unpacking boxes at her new home. Late that evening, she went out to buy a pack of cigarettes. When she returned, she noticed Brian Nichols sitting in a pickup truck.

Ashley describes the frightening moment when their paths crossed: "I was hurrying to get my key in the door and I stuck my key in the door and unlocked the door and turned around and there he was. And I started screaming at the top of my lungs."

Ashley says that Nichols then put a gun to her face and forced her inside her apartment. How did she react? "I did everything that he said," says Ashley. "I figured the best way for me to survive was going to be to do whatever he told me to do."
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FROM: Held Hostage by the Accused Atlanta Spree Killer: How Ashley Smith Survived
Published on September 28, 2005

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