UPDATE: Tennessee man to remain on death row despite law change
Nichols has spent nearly half his life on death row for raping and killing Karen Pulley, 21, inside her Brainerd home in 1988.
UPDATE: A judge ruled that Harold Wayne Nichols will remain on death row.
Nichols was convicted in 1988 of raping and killing Karen Pulley, 21, inside her home in Brainerd.
Nichols' attorney was working to get him off death row due to a law change that would have impacted Nichols’ original trial.
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Harold Wayne Nichols was convicted of raping and killing Karen Pulley, 21, inside her Brainerd home in 1988. He was also convicted in a series of 11 other rapes or attempted rapes in the Chattanooga area before that.
Nichols' attorney says the previous rape cases were discussed during sentencing, and the change in law makes that an issue.
Attorneys on both sides met before a special judge called in from Rutherford County to discuss a change that was made to a law after he was sentenced.
Nichols wants to get off death row and spend the rest of his life in prison.
Judge Don Ash said he wants time to think about the decision before ruling.
"I do have legitimate concerns about whether this is appropriate or not, and I just want to look at it some more. I appreciate the job, y'all both have sent me excellent briefs, your petitions are top shelf, so I appreciate all that," he said during the hearing.
Nichols is currently housed in Riverbend Maximum Security in Nashville.
He currently does not have an execution date.
He has appealed his conviction several times which a federal appeals court denied in 2013. It's one of the things the judge said he's considering in making his decision.
"The citizens of this county and our appellate court and district attorney general's office have all gone through this process, and you've been convicted and sentenced to death and to me, that's a big deal and I understand that," Ash added.
Nichols will be back in Hamilton County on March 14, that's when the judge is expected to decide.
Stay with Channel 3 for updates on this story.