24th March 06:29
2am Tobacco Addiction leads to Kidnapping ! -- who said smoking isn't harmful to one's health?
2am Tobacco Addiction leads to Kidnapping ! -- who said smoking isn't harmful to
By Dahleen Glanton and John Bebow
March 14, 2005
ATLANTA -- If she hadn't run out of cigarettes, Ashley Smith might never have
met the former Baltimore man accused of killing an Atlanta judge and three
Instead, a late-night run for smokes became an opportunity for Brian Nichols to
put a gun to her side and force his way into the suburban apartment she had
moved into two days earlier, she said. Within hours, they agreed that God had
brought them together.
At first he had wrapped her up with tape and an extension cord, she said. She
thought he might try to strangle her. Eventually, her calm manner seemed to calm
"I don't want to hurt you," she recalled Nichols telling her. "I don't want to
hurt anybody else."
They talked throughout the night, Smith, 26, said in a conference with Atlanta
news media last night, a day after the arrest of the suspect alleged to have
killed four people in a rampage beginning Friday morning at the Fulton County
Smith said that during her seven-hour hostage ordeal, they talked about the book
she was reading, her 5-year-old daughter and the death of her husband four years
"I told him that if he hurt me, my little girl wouldn't have a mommy or daddy,"
She begged him to let her go see her daughter Saturday morning. At first he said
no. Then he said maybe. Then he asked for her help to ditch a pickup truck
allegedly taken after the killing of an off-duty federal agent.
She went with him, took her cell phone, thought about calling police, but
concluded she might get caught in some sort of crossfire between Nichols and
police. So she waited.
He told her he just wanted to relax in her place for a few days, watch
television and eat some real food. She cooked him breakfast -- pancakes with
butter. He put his guns under her bed -- and let her flee at 9:30 a.m. Saturday
to see her daughter.
"He just wanted some normalness in his life right then," she said. "He said he
thought I was an angel sent from God. And that he was lost and God led him right
Smith was accosted as she arrived home at 2 a.m. after her trip to a convenience
store to buy cigarettes. Nichols spotted her in the parking lot of her apartment
complex and approached her with a gun as she was about to enter her apartment,