Hundreds gather for judge's memorial -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hundreds gather for judge's memorial

Atlanta- Judge Rowland Barnes' friends, family members, and co-workers attended the memorial service at the Georgia convention center in College Park Thursday.

The courthouse where the shootings happened was closed so the 400 employees who work there could attend the service. Judge Barnes was remembered as a beloved friend and someone known for his perseverance in life and his career.

Barnes, his court reporter, and a sheriff's deputy were shot to death last Friday when a gunman overpowered a deputy and took her gun.

Friends and family are also remembering the deputy killed last Friday, Sgt. Hoyt Teasley, who died while pursuing Brian Nichols after he shot judge Barnes and his court reporter inside their courtroom. Mourners paid their respects at a public viewing in southwest Atlanta. Sgt. Teasley's funeral is Friday.

The deputy who Brian Nichols overpowered will probably not be able to remember what happened. Cynthia Hall's doctor says her injuries resemble those sustained from a car crash or falling off a ladder. Police say Brian Nichols attacked her Friday as she was escorting him to his retrial for rape.

She has a traumatic brain injury. Her brain is bruised and bleeding, and her skull is fractured near her right eye.

A funeral service was held today in North Carolina for a customs agent killed in the shooting spree. About one thousand people attended the funeral for David Wilhelm at a chapel in Salisbury, North Carolina.

He was found shot to death at his unfinished home in Atlanta Saturday. Police believe Brian Nichols shot him after Nichols fled the scene of his shooting rampage.

Wilhelm was remembered as a relentless investigator, a loving husband, and generous friend.

State judges want improved safety in our courts, and they are getting it. The justice department is giving the national center for state courts $100,000 to take a look at the safety of our court. Right now there are at least 15 threats against judges or their families, including death threats. Security risks are making it harder to get people to serve on juries, and witnesses are coming to court intimidated.

A county courthouse in South Georgia is also boosting its security. Starting Monday, the Grady County courthouse will be using a personal metal detector at its entrances. Deputies say they will be checking people for items such as guns, knives, or other contraband.

Also, all visitors and employees will have to use the main front doors on the west side of the courthouse. Law enforcement will use the south doors.

Officials say Superior Court judges asked for the increased security because of the shootings that happened last Friday in Atlanta.

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