ATLANTA – Ashley Smith (search), the single mother who led police to alleged courthouse gunman Brian Nichols, will receive a reward of at least $10,000, the governor said Tuesday.
"In my opinion, she absolutely deserves it," Gov. Sonny Perdue (search) said.
The reward fund reached $60,000 on Friday, hours after Nichols allegedly shot a judge, a court reporter and a deputy and escaped from a downtown Atlanta (search) courthouse. He is also accused of killing a federal agent that night as he eluded authorities.
Nichols was caught the next day after taking Smith hostage in her suburban apartment for seven hours. Smith told police she spent all night talking to Nichols, cooked him breakfast and read to him from the Bible before he let her leave unharmed.
She called police and told them Nichols was at the apartment. He surrendered after police arrived.
Following the slayings, the state offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Nichols' arrest: the FBI $20,000, the U.S. Marshals Service $25,000 and the Georgia Sheriff's Association $5,000.
The FBI and the sheriffs association said they had not yet decided who would get the reward money. A spokesman for the marshals service did not immediately return a call.
Perdue urged the other agencies to reward Smith, as well.
"She did what we ask people to do," he said. "Reward money is incentive for people to give us information to apprehend criminals. I can't think of a more classic case where it occurred than in this situation."