GA Judge Leaves Courthouse Killing Case Over Magazine Remark


Efforts by the Atlanta district attorney, attacks from the Georgia Capitol and widespread criticism from the public and some quarters of the legal community were not enough to drive Judge Hilton Fuller Jr. off the Brian Nichols courthouse shooting case. An unguarded comment to a New Yorker magazine reporter effectively torpedoed his role in the case, says the Fulton County Daily Report. Yesterday, Fuller stepped aside, saying that the costly, complex case would only suffer if he remained after an article quoted him as saying that “everyone in the world knows he did it.”

Although Nichols’ announced intention to seek a mental-health defense effectively amounted to an admission that he had committed the killings, University of Georgia law Prof. Ron Carlson said Fuller’s comments “would be an issue on appeal as surely as the sun’s coming up tomorrow.” Fuller said he consented to The New Yorker interview to help the writer, lawyer-journalist Jeffrey Toobin, understand the complex case, “because there’s been so much misinformation.” Fuller said the conversation was supposed to be on background, but Toobin said: “it was clearly for attribution; we even had a New Yorker fact-checker call and confirm it.”


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