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Sensing she had established a rapport with Nichols, Ashley says she began to feel more confident that her life would be spared. She even helped Nichols get rid of the stolen pickup truck. Despite being in separate cars at one point, Ashley chose not to call police.

"I thought of every scenario possible," explains Ashley. "If I were to call the police, then he could drive off … I knew pretty much by the way he was treating me that he was going to let me go. Or, in my head I was getting out of that house no matter what. So I knew that once the truck was gone, if I could just get him back to my apartment, he would be left in the apartment alone."

When Ashley and Nichols returned to her apartment, she made pancakes for them to eat. "I was hungry at the time. … He asked for permission to do things. And [I thought,] 'You know what? If he wanted to kill me, he could have done it long ago.' … I had to begin to trust him a little bit."

All night long, Ashley told Brian Nichols that she needed to leave in the morning to see her daughter and to go to work, otherwise people would get suspicious. When morning rolled around, Brian Nichols did in fact let her leave. This time, Ashley called 911. Nichols surrendered to police unarmed, waving a white T-shirt in the air.

Brian Nichols is now awaiting trial and is charged with murder, kidnapping, and escape. He faces the death penalty if convicted, but has pled not guilty.
FROM: Held Hostage by the Accused Atlanta Spree Killer: How Ashley Smith Survived
Published on September 28, 2005


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