ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A defendant grabbed the pistol of a deputy on the way to a courtroom, injured the female deputy and went into the room where he fatally shot a Fulton County Superior Court judge and a court reporter Friday morning at a downtown courthouse, Atlanta police said.
The suspect then fled into the streets, killed another deputy outside the courthouse and drove away in a carjacked vehicle, Deputy Chief Alan Dreher said.
A search for the suspect, identified by police as Brian Nichols, 33, was under way in Georgia and the neighboring states of Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolinas. Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freeman said Nichols is considered armed and dangerous. . . .
Nichols was reportedly facing a retrial for rape and kidnapping in Barnes' courtroom, after a first trial resulted in a hung jury. He is described as being an African-American male, 33 years old, about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing 210 pounds.
Legal challenges to the death penalty culminated in a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 153 (1972), which struck down federal and state capital punishment laws permitting wide discretion in the application of the death penalty. Characterizing these laws as "arbitrary and capricious," the majority ruled that they constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the due process guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment. . . .
More than 600 death row inmates who had been sentenced to death between 1967 and 1972 had their death sentences lifted as a result of Furman, but the numbers quickly began to build up again as states enacted revised legislation tailored to satisfy the Supreme Court's objections to arbitrary imposition of death sentences. . . .
In 1977, the Supreme Court declared in Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584 (1977) that applying the death penalty in rape cases was unconstitutional because the sentence was disproportionate to the crime. Coker resulted in the removal of twenty inmates -- three whites and 17 blacks -- awaiting execution on rape convictions from death rows around the country.
In Lockett v. Ohio, 438 U.S. 586 (1978), the high court forced a number of states to again revise their death penalty statutes by ruling that the sentencing authority in a capital case must consider every possible mitigating factor to the crime rather than limiting, as Ohio had, the mitigating factors that could be considered to a specific list. . . .
Since the 1976 Gregg decision upholding the constitutionality of Georgia's death penalty law, numerous states have reinstated capital punishment in their statutes. The most recent state to enact a death penalty law was New York in 1995. As of January 1998, 38 states and the federal government have capital punishment laws in effect. Alaska, eleven other states -- Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin -- and the District of Columbia do not have a death penalty. Sites providing information on the current status of the death penalty throughout the nation are available on the Death Penalty Statistics page. . . .
That makes two such cases, Debra. The other was a judge whose mother and husband were killed.
I have little doubt that the worthless piece of sh!t pictured above's life will be extinguished in a hail of police bullets but there will still be some blame to go around.
All people are NOT created equal. This is not a job for a "small framed" woman.
He took the gun out of the officer's holster, I believe. This has never happened to a large-framed male cop?
Following your logic, no women should be cops. And only really big guys should be.
Am I using my head now?
And you can quit being insulting.
By cop, I mean someone who carries a gun and enforces the law.
What roles should women have in law enforcement? Supervising school crossings?