Prosecution seeks death penalty in courthouse shooting trial
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Prosecutors said Tuesday they will seek the death penalty in the state case against courthouse shooting suspect Brian G. Nichols.
Superior Court Senior Judge Hilton M. Fuller set Nichols' arraignment for May 17. Last week, a Fulton County grand jury returned a 54-count indictment against Nichols that includes four charges of murder.
Fuller also set June 9 and June 10 to hear defense motions, one of which seeks to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard from involvement in the case.
During Tuesday's 45-minute proceeding, Nichols, dressed in a light-green suit coat and an open-necked shirt, sat next to his team of public defenders.
Though his hands were free, his legs were shackled.
Nichols did not speak to the judge during the hearing. When Nichols was asked if he wanted speak about the makeup of his defense team, Nichols' lead counsel said his client would not comment but was aware of his rights.
Occasionally, Nichols whispered to his lawyer during the proceeding.
On March 11, Nichols, 33, allegedly shot and killed Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and his court reporter inside the courtroom. Outside the courthouse, Nichols killed a sheriff's deputy and later killed a federal agent, police say.
He was captured the next day.
In addition to the four charges of murder, Nichols was also indicted on:Three counts of aggravated assault on a police officerEighteen counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weaponTwo counts of aggravated batterySeven counts of kidnapping and kidnapping with bodily injurySeven counts of armed robberyFive counts of robbery by force, theft by taking, escape and hijacking a motor vehicle.