Ex rehén recibirá recompensa de $ 10 mil

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — Former hostage Ashley Smith, who helped police peacefully capture suspected Atlanta courthouse killer Brian Nichols, will receive a $10,000 reward from the state of Georgia, Gov. Sonny Perdue has announced.
As a captive in her suburban Atlanta apartment on Saturday morning, Smith said she gained the confidence of Nichols, who’s accused of killing a judge, a deputy sheriff, a court reporter and a federal agent last week.
Nichols, 33, is being held without bond in maximum security in an Atlanta jail and is expected to be charged with murder in the four shooting deaths.
Smith, 26, said she she gained Nichols’ trust by talking to him about her 5-year-old daughter, God and hope. He later gave himself up to police outside Smith’s apartment. (Full story)
«Ashley Smith earned this reward because her brave actions led directly to the apprehension of Brian Nichols,» Perdue said in a statement on the governor’s Web site. «We are all proud of the quick law enforcement effort that peacefully resolved this crisis following her 9-1-1 call.»
There is no word on whether Smith will receive any of the other reward money offered in the case, including $20,000 from the FBI, $25,000 from the U.S. Marshals Service and $5,000 from the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association.
On Tuesday, Nichols made his first court appearance since his Saturday arrest. Wearing a blue jump suit and blue slippers with his hands and legs shackled, Nichols only spoke to tell the court that he had nothing to say «at this time.»
Prosecutor Michele McCutcheon said the state intended to file four charges of murder — as well as felony escape charges and «other felonies» — against Nichols at a later date.
The judge read previous rape charges against Nichols, on which he is being held, while prosecutors arrange formal charges on the killings.
After the hearing, defense attorney Chris Adams spoke to reporters. «This is a time of grief and mourning for the courthouse community,» Adams said. «We’re going to respect that. There will be plenty of time for us later to lay out our legal arguments and examine the evidence and search for answers in this case.»
A few blocks away at Fulton County Courthouse, employees attended a memorial service for the three people killed at the courthouse on Friday morning.
Nichols’ courthouse escape from custody began on Friday when police said he overpowered and injured sheriff’s deputy Cynthia Ann Hall. while she was escorting him to his retrial.
A courthouse video system recorded Nichols overpowering Hall, police said, taking her keys and then unlocking a nearby lockbox to obtain her gun.
Nichols then went across a bridge to an adjacent building and into a courtroom, where he shot and killed Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland W. Barnes and court reporter Julie Ann Brandau, police said. Police also accuse Nichols of fatally shooting sheriff’s deputy Sgt. Hoyt Teasley during his escape.
CNN has learned that Barnes pushed a silent alarm button twice during the courthouse siege Friday, but authorities didn’t respond until minutes later after the judge and his court reporter had been killed.
Police said Nichols then carjacked several vehicles — injuring a local newspaper reporter — and then boarded a MARTA subway train north to Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood.
Authorities said Nichols then shot and killed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent David Wilhelm at his home which was under construction near the MARTA station. Next, Nichols stole Wilhelm’s truck — police said — and drove it to an apartment complex to the northeast in Gwinnett County. There, he took Smith hostage, police said. (Full story)
Smith downplayed her efforts Monday night.
«Throughout my time with Mr. Nichols, I continued to rely [on] my faith in God. God has helped me through tough times before, and he’ll help me now,» she told reporters at a news conference in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia. (Full story)
Garage misstep
Police may have missed a chance at catching Nichols during the series of carjackings shortly after the courthouse shootings.
Employees of the parking garage near the courthouse said they saw Nichols drive a carjacked vehicle through the lot — smashing through an entrance gate to escape from the police who were chasing him.
The employees said they told police to wait in a central location inside the garage where all escape routes could be seen, but police drove through the garage instead, the workers told CNN.
Security cameras at the parking garage appeared to record Nichols walking out an unguarded exit with two guns visible in the back of his trousers.
Nichols carjacked a car and dumped it inside the garage, leading police to believe he had escaped in a green Honda Accord — a development that was not discovered until Friday evening.

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