Mistrial denied in Atlanta courthouse shooting

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ATLANTA – A judge has denied a mistrial for an Atlanta man who escaped during his rape trial and went on a courthouse shooting spree that left four people dead.

Jurors are deciding whether 36-year-old Brian Nichols should be executed for killing a judge, a court reporter, a sheriff's deputy and a federal agent in the violence that began in downtown Atlanta. He was convicted earlier this month in the 2005 killings.

His attorneys asked for a mistrial in the death penalty phase after prosecutors played a tape of Nichols apparently threatening to kill a prosecutor. They didn't give defense attorneys a transcript of the call.

Superior Court Judge James Bodiford says playing the call violated a court order but the offense wasn't serious enough to merit a mistrial.