0

Deputies intercept weapons at Brian Nichols trial

ATLANTA - Twice in the last week Fulton County deputies seized weapons from people attempting to attend the trial of courthouse gunman Brian Nichols, confiscating a razor and a gun from two people who tried to enter the courtroom where he is being tried.

Security officials took the razor from a man trying to enter the security checkpoint on the sixth floor of the Atlanta Municipal Courthouse on Nov. 13, county officials said. They confiscated a gun Tuesday from a woman entering the trial security area.

The latter seizure forced officers to empty the courtroom Tuesday morning and use security dogs to sweep most of the sixth floor of the courthouse. Fulton County courts spokesman Don Plummer said it was a 'security issue' but did not elaborate at the time.

Nichols was found guilty Nov. 7 of murdering a judge, a court reporter, a sheriff's deputy and a federal agent when he escaped from a 2005 rape trial. The jury is now hearing testimony about whether Nichols should be sentenced to death.

Security has been tight throughout the trial, which is being held a few blocks from the scene of the shootings.

Police have cordoned off the streets outside the buildings and visitors are screened through two checkpoints - one at the building's entrance and another at a metal detector near the entrance to the courtroom.

Security officers in tan flak jackets roam the building's hallways and a security dog often sits near a metal detector as visitors are screened at the second checkpoint.