Courthouse shooting suspect appears before Cobb County judge

ATLANTA (AP) _ Brian Nichols is being held on a rape charge, but a Georgia prosecutor says he will face murder charges in four deaths in last week's shooting rampage.

Nichols appeared before a Cobb County judge in Atlanta today. The judge informed Nichols he's being charged again with rape. Nichols escaped while being led to trial for that alleged rape and other charges Friday. He's accused of killing four people in his escape and the subsequent manhunt.

There was heavy security for today's hearing, with officers lining the walls and Nichols hands and ankles were shackled. He spoke once, when the judge asked him if he had any questions. Nichols replied, "Not at this time."

His defense lawyer asked the magistrate judge to recuse himself since he'd been appointed by Fulton County officials.

Nichols' is suspected of killing several people at the Fulton County courthouse.