Seventeen prosecutors and investigators have decided to leave the Fulton County district attorney’s office since the March 11 courthouse killings, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At least three prosecutors citing the shootings as a factor; others said the shootings prompted them to follow through with goals to leave public service. “For the courthouse, this is our 9/11 – the biggest thing that has happened this close to us,” said prosecutor Ash Joshi. In three months, District Attorney Paul Howard is losing almost 12 percent of his 42 investigators and 102 prosecutors.
Howard has begun interviewing potential job candidates. He has hundreds of résumés on file; a dozen fresh ones poured in Monday. Joshi and seven others who are leaving are some of Howard’s most seasoned prosecutors, including Ron Boyter, who was expected to help prosecute death penalty defendant Brian Nichols. Nichols is accused of fatally shooting Judge Rowland Barnes, court reporter Julie Ann Brandau, and sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Hoyt Teasley at the courthouse, and later U.S. Customs agent David Wilhelm, while escaping his rape trial. “I hate to give Nichols any bit of value, but it played a part,” Joshi said. “It took [fellow prosecutor Gayle Abramson] and I from thinking ‘We need to leave’ to ‘Let’s leave!’ ” Joshi is going into private practice, while Abramson is joining a civil firm.