Several Fulton County, Ga., deputies told a series of lies – some big, some small, many without reason – about their actions on March 11 and the days leading up the courthouse shootings, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. One officer lied about whether anyone was inside a courthouse control room when calls for help first went out. The statements, made weeks after the shootings, were contained in documents released this week by the judge hearing the Brian Nichols murder case. DeKalb Sheriff Thomas Brown, who has led an independent investigation into the shootings, said inconsistencies in deputies’ accounts “slowed us down considerably. If we had just had the truth in the beginning, we could have cut a good 3 1/2 weeks off our investigative time.”
Five deputies have been fired for lying in the case, in which Nichols is accused of killing a judge, a court stenographer, a deputy, and a U.S. Customs agent. Most of the 33 Sheriff’s Office employees questioned just after the killings did not lie, said Brown, whose independent investigators used voice stress analysis to detect lying. A summary of the findings of the initial inquiry was released to the public on April 5, but a judge sealed the transcripts of individual interviews. On Monday, the judge approved the documents’ release to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other media outlets that sought them under the state’s Open Records Act.