Federal prosecutors will not bring charges against Atlanta courthouse gunman Brian Nichols, who was convicted last year of murdering a judge, a court reporter, a sheriff's deputy and a federal agent.

Local prosecutors encouraged their federal counterparts to bring additional charges in hopes that Nichols could still face lethal injection after he avoided the state's death penalty.

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But U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said Tuesday that even if prosecutors were able to win a conviction on murder charges, "a federal jury might well not return a unanimous death sentence, as occurred in the state trial."

Nichols, 37, was found guilty in November of murdering Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes, court reporter Julie Ann Brandau, Deputy Hoyt Teasley and federal agent David Wilhelm in a 2005 spree that began in a downtown Atlanta courthouse.

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