ATLANTA – The woman allegedly taken hostage by Brian Nichols, a suspect in a quadruple murder, said that during the hours she was held in her apartment, she and her captor watched TV footage of the Georgia manhunt, had long discussions about God and ate pancakes with butter.
"He said, 'That's not me. I can't believe that's me,'" Ashley Smith (search) told FOX News affiliate WAGA-TV Sunday. "I told him: 'You need to turn yourself in.'"
Nichols, who is accused of killing a judge and three others, led authorities on a 26-hour manhunt after surrendering by waving a white cloth out of Smith's apartment to a SWAT team that had surrounded the vicinity. Smith had alerted authorities via a 911 call.
"She acted very cool and levelheaded. We don't normally see that in our profession," Gwinnett County Police officer Darren Moloney (search) said of Smith. "It was an absolutely best-case scenario that happened, a complete opposite of what you expected to happen. We were prepared for the worst and got the best."
Nichols did not say anything when he was arrested but was "very calm, very compliant with officers' directions to him in securing his arrest. He was very cooperative," Gwinnett County Police Chief Charles Walters (search) said Sunday.
Nichols allegedly overpowered a courthouse deputy escorting him to his rape trial Friday and took the deputy's gun, then entered the courtroom where his trial was being held and killed the presiding judge and court reporter. He also is accused of killing a deputy who tried to stop him outside the courthouse and a federal agent during his flight from authorities.
Police say Nichols drove a stolen vehicle to Smith's Gwinnett County apartment complex, which he may have picked at random, approached her as she was entering and introduced himself as a wanted man.
He apparently told her, "If you do what I say, I won't kill you," Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said.
"I felt like he was going to kill me when he first put the gun to my side," Smith said, adding that at one point she had been tied and bound with curtains and tape, fearing she would never see her daughter again.
"I told him that my little girl didn't have a daddy anymore and that she needed a mommy to live because my husband died four years ago," Smith said she told him, but added that she later felt assured after the two had talked that Nichols was going to turn himself in and not harm her.
Under Nichols' direction, Smith followed her captor in a separate vehicle to drop off the car he had been using and then drove him back to her apartment, she said. During the drive, Smith said she contemplated calling police but decided against doing so at that moment, since Nichols had reassured her he would leave at 9:30 a.m.
The two had some "pretty in-depth conversations" before the situation ended.
"The bottom line is that law enforcement had no idea where he was — this victim, the community owes a tremendous debt to her because she kept her calm and provided us with the information that ultimately led to the arrest," Walters said.
Smith was not injured and helped the SWAT team members find Nichols, Moloney said.
"She was very strong through the whole thing," he said.
Atlanta police Chief Richard Pennington said he thought Smith appealed to Nichols on a spiritual level.
Nichols could appear in federal court as early as Monday to face a charge of possession of a firearm by a person under indictment, the charge authorities are using to keep Nichols in custody while they sort out charging in the slayings, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said.
The Fulton County District Attorney's Office hopes to formally charge Nichols with the new crimes within 30 days, spokesman Erik Friedly said Sunday.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard still would like to resolve Nichols' interrupted rape retrial, Friedly said. Nichols faced a life sentence if convicted.
In that case, Nichols was accused of bursting into his ex-girlfriend's home with a loaded machine gun, binding her with duct tape and sexually assaulting her over three days. Nichols claimed the sex was consensual.
However, Nichols' defense attorney for the rape charge said continuing with that case would "seem to be a colossal waste of time and tax money."
The deputy who was overpowered at the courthouse remained in critical condition Sunday, Grady Memorial Hospital officials said. Although hospital officials initially reported she may have suffered a grazing bullet wound to her forehead, they now believe she was struck on the head, spokeswoman Denise Simpson said.
FOX News' Heather Scroope and the Associated Press contributed to this report.