Death penalty phase begins in Nichols case

ATLANTA (AP) - The death penalty phase is under way in the case of a gunman found guilty of killing four people in a shooting spree that began at a downtown Atlanta courthouse.

Brian Nichols was found guilty Friday in the fatal shootings of a judge, a court reporter, a deputy and a federal agent in the 2005 rampage.

The 36-year-old Nichols pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. But a jury rejected his claims, finding him guilty of all 54 counts against him, including murder and aggravated assault.

The sentencing phase was to begin on Monday, but Nichols' lawyers won a two-day delay to prepare for another round of witnesses.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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