Tragedy and Transforming Truth by Jeremiah Johnson
Ten years ago the names and faces of Brian Nichols and Ashley Smith dominated the news cycle. At the time, the events surrounding their encounter gripped the city of Atlanta in fear.
In 2005, Nichols was facing trial for rape. On the morning of Friday, March 11, he attacked his guard and several others before murdering the judge and the court reporter presiding over his trial. He shot and killed another guard as he escaped the Fulton County courthouse, and led police on a lengthy manhunt. Over the course of several tense hours, he stole a string of vehicles and murdered a federal agent.
Eventually, Nichols forced his way into Smith’s apartment, and held her at gunpoint for several hours. During their time together, Smith famously read him passages from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life. She also let him snort some of her methamphetamine. Smith was an addict at the time, but today she traces her sobriety and spiritual awakening back to that night in her apartment as Nichols’s hostage. In the morning, he released her. She alerted the authorities to his location, and after they surrounded the apartment, Nichols surrendered.
In a few weeks, the movie version of their story—titled Captive—will hit theaters. Based on Smith’s 2010 book Unlikely Angel, the movie will likely revive national interest in their unique ordeal, and in The Purpose-Driven Life, which figures heavily in the film’s trailer.
On Identity by Jeremiah Johnson
This blog series includes the following:
- Finding your way in the Evangelical fog
- Meet the Bereans
- Your Berean Battle Plan: Remember
- Your Berean Battle Plan: Remain
- Your Berean Battle Plan: Reach
- Your Berean Battle Plan: Rescue
- John MacArthur on Every Believer's Responsibilty
- Guarding the Pulpit