Fox News host Bill O'Reilly attacked Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Paul Howard's handling of the Atlanta courthouse shooting case by suggesting that the prosecutor opposed the death penalty. "Don't know whether we're gonna ask for the death penalty," O'Reilly pondered. "I mean this -- somebody ought to just whack this guy [alleged shooter Brian Nichols]!" Further prodded by a caller, O'Reilly said that Howard might not seek the death penalty "[b]ecause he's an ideologue. He's a left-wing ideologue who probably doesn't believe in the death penalty -- I don't know."
In fact, Howard personally supports the death penalty, according to the July 2, 1996, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and he has sought the death penalty in numerous instances, including the following:
- James Vincent Sullivan, accused of murdering his wife in 1987. [Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/16/04]
- Frederick Gude, a "three-time killer" accused of stabbing a neighbor. [Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/22/04]
- Christopher and Valerie Carey, charged with killing their 8-year-old daughter. [Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/22/04]
- Kenneth Gerald Reese, for allegedly shooting a police officer. [Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/4/03]
- Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, for allegedly murdering a sheriff's deputy and wounding another. [Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/10/02]
From the March 15 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor:
O'REILLY: I have beyond a reasonable doubt in Atlanta, Georgia. They're idiots! And you know why? We had a brilliant segment last night on television -- I hope you saw it, because the whole county -- Fulton County, is based on politically correct cronyism. Give a job to my friend -- particularly if my friend is black.
It's payback time! Because, for decades blacks couldn't get jobs in municipal Georgia. And now, blacks control Fulton County. And, it's patronage, it's who you know -- and the place is out of control. Doesn't have anything to do with color -- it has to do with inefficiency.
Cronyism -- don't know whether we're gonna ask for the death penalty -- I mean this -- somebody ought to just whack this guy [Nichols]! Shake him. Send -- you go down there, you shake him.
LIS WIEHL (co-host): I'll do that. I'll shake him around.
O'REILLY: I mean we don't even believe in the death penalty here --
WIEHL: No, exactly! But if you're gonna have it --
[CALLER]: Yeah, this guy in Georgia -- I don't know what kind of nut he is or anything. But how can a prosecutor, with the death penalty, not want to do that after they killed several of his employees and people that he's in charge of?
O'REILLY: Because he [Howard]'s an ideologue. He's a left-wing ideologue who probably doesn't believe in the death penalty -- I don't know. There's no explanation.
O'Reilly later blasted Howard for not yet seeking the death penalty in the Nichols case on the March 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, as Media Matters documented.