Judge Refuses to Disregard Atlanta Courthouse Shooter's Confession

A judge Tuesday refused to throw out a confession from the man accused of killing a judge and three other people in a shooting rampage that began at the Atlanta courthouse.

Brian Nichols made the statement before he had met with an attorney. But Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller said he will leave it up to a jury to decide whether Nichols made the statement voluntarily and how much weight it should be given.

Nichols, 34, is accused of killing Judge Rowland Barnes and a court reporter at the Fulton County Courthouse in 2005, and a sheriff's sergeant who chased him outside. A fourth victim, a federal agent, was later killed at his home. Nichols surrendered the next day after allegedly taking a woman hostage.

Nichols has pleaded not guilty, though authorities say he confessed in a three-hour statement to police.

Nichols' trial is scheduled for Jan. 11. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.