ATLANTA, July 10 (UPI) -- Jury selection began Thursday in the much-delayed trial of a man charged with killing an Atlanta judge and three others in a dramatic courtroom breakout.
Brian Nichols could face the death penalty if he is convicted. His lawyers filed an official notice Wednesday that he is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The lawyers said Nichols suffered from a compulsion that "overmastered his will" while he was on trial for sexually assaulting and kidnapping a former girlfriend.
The case is one of the most notorious in recent Georgia history. Nichols was supposed to go on trial last year but jury selection ended almost as soon as it started because money to pay his lawyers had run out.
Superior Court Judge James Bodiford is the second judge assigned to the case.
In addition to the judge, Nichols allegedly killed a court reporter, a bailiff and a federal agent March 11, 2005. He invaded a woman's apartment and remained there overnight until she convinced him to give himself up.