ATLANTA – A girlfriend of courthouse killings suspect Brian Nichols (search) gave birth to his child just three days before the rampage, and she said Nichols repeatedly expressed his desire to be with the child.
The mother's statements and transcripts from Nichols' rape trial are the most specific suggestion of a possible motive for last week's shooting spree. Prosecutors have suggested Nichols was worried about being convicted at the trial, but have not revealed a detailed motive.
"I do know that he wanted to be with the baby. He did speak about it all the time," Sonya Meredith, the mother of the baby boy, told The Associated Press. She said Nichols made those statements in the days and weeks leading up to the shootings.
The development about a possible motive came as the doctor for the deputy allegedly attacked by Nichols said that the officer has no memory of the assault. Cynthia Hall's (search) amnesia could subside as her brain injury heals, doctors said.
Authorities also said Wednesday that the deputy was not armed in the holding cell where the attack occurred. Sheriff Myron Freeman (search) said Nichols attacked Hall, stole her keys and retrieved her gun from a lock box.
Nichols allegedly then moved on to the courtroom where his rape trial was being held, and killed the judge and a court reporter. Authorities later say he murdered a deputy and a federal agent before surrendering.
Nichols had been on trial for a second time for allegedly raping and holding an ex-girlfriend hostage. It was in the middle of that retrial, on March 8, when Meredith, another girlfriend of Nichols, gave birth to their son.
"I wanted to have a healthy baby," Nichols testified during his first rape trial, which ended in a hung jury on Feb. 28. The second trial started last week.
The day after Meredith gave birth, jail officials found homemade knives in each of Nichols' shoes. Two days later, Nichols allegedly went on the rampage.
Erik Friedly, a spokesman for the District Attorney's office, declined to comment about the case Wednesday or provide further details about Nichols' motive.
Nichols, a well-educated former computer technician who grew up in Baltimore the son of a Treasury Department official, testified at length during his first trial that he was dating both Meredith and the alleged rape victim, and was torn between the two. The one thing he said he was sure of was being a father and helping Meredith raise their child, court transcripts show.
"Right away I felt as though it was a blessing for us to have been in a relationship for such a short time and to have conceived a child," Nichols testified in his first trial.
Nichols also has a 13-year-old daughter, whose mother met Nichols in college when they attended Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. His daughter's mother has said they have not seen Nichols since his daughter was a toddler.
The alleged rape victim testified that Nichols was suicidal at times about her threatening to end their seven-year relationship because of Meredith.
"He told me that he didn't want the relationship to end and that he knew what he had done was wrong, but he thought with our mutual faith in God that we could work through it and that he was committed to working through it," the rape accuser said.
Nichols testified that he started dating Meredith, whom he met at an Atlanta fitness club, a short time after his relationship with the alleged rape victim first soured early last year. He told jurors that he first began having problems with the alleged rape victim when he learned she couldn't have sex for a while after having a tumor removed from her stomach. Nichols also testified that she had spurned his marriage proposal.
But according to the alleged rape victim, Nichols angrily resisted her attempts to end their relationship. She said Nichols at one point attacked a minister from the couple's church whom she had recently started dating.