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Rowland W. Barnes (April 25, 1940 – March 11, 2005) was a Fulton County, Georgia, United States, Superior Court Judge. He oversaw the 2003 trial of hockey star Dany Heatley, who was charged with vehicular homicide after the death of teammate Dan Snyder in a car accident. Judge Barnes was shot to death in his courtroom by Brian Nichols in 2005.
Education and employment
Barnes attended Frankfurt High School in Germany and he began his academic career at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1962. He later studied business and then law at The George Washington University and then graduated from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1972, and at the time of his death still held the title of adjunct professor at Emory. Barnes had served as a city judge and as a magistrate before his appointment by Governor Zell Miller to Fulton Superior Court in 1998.
Barnes was murdered on March 11, 2005, in his courtroom by Brian Nichols who was convicted for the crime and sentenced to life imprisonment. Nichols attacked a sheriff's deputy and was able to take her gun, and then went to the courtroom and shot Judge Barnes, his court reporter, and later a sheriff's deputy and a federal agent, all of whom died of their injuries. Nichols was taken into custody at an apartment complex in Duluth, Georgia the following day.