Brian Gene Nichols (born December 10, 1971) is known for his escape and killing spree in the Fulton county courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia on March 11, 2005. Nichols was on trial for rape when he escaped from custody and murdered the judge presiding over his trial, a court reporter, a Sheriff's Deputy and later a Federal agent. A huge manhunt was launched in metro Atlanta and Nichols was taken into custody 26 hours later. The prosecution charged him with committing 54 crimes during the escape and he was found guilty on all counts on November 7, 2008.
What little is known about Nichols' early life is that he came from a middle class family. He graduated from the Cardinal Gibbons School in Baltimore, Maryland in 1989. He attended college at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, for three semesters from 1989 to 1990. While attending the college he played linebacker on their football team. Nick Pergine, who played football with Nichols at Kutztown, said Nichols' massive physical presence and martial-arts skills earned him a reputation as someone to be careful around. Jake Williams, who coached Nichols at Kutztown, compared Nichols' physique (6'1" and 210 lbs) with that of NFL star John Mobley, who also played at the university.
Berks County records show that Nichols had been arrested at least three times during his short stay at the university. In 1990, he was charged with terroristic threats, simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment, stemming from an incident in a university dining hall, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty to the two lesser charges and the others were dropped.