April 08, 2005

Eric Rudolph pleads guilty to all charges in exchange for life instead of death

Eric Robert Rudolph, accused of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing nine years ago, along with two other bombings in metro Atlanta and one in Birmingham, has agreed to plead guilty to all the charges against him in exchange for a life sentence.

Rudolph has signed agreements with the U.S. Attorneys' Offices in Birmingham and Atlanta in which he agreed to plead guilty to the three Atlanta bombings and the Birmingham bombing and agreed to waive all appeals. The plea agreements provide for multiple life sentences for Rudolph without the possibility of parole.

"The many victims of Eric Rudolph's terrorist attacks in Atlanta and Birmingham can rest assured that Rudolph will spend the rest of his life behind bars," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. "The best interests of justice are served by resolution of this case and by the skillful operation that secured the dangerous explosives buried in North Carolina."

Rudolph is scheduled to plead guilty to the Northern District of Alabama indictment Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith at the federal courthouse in Birmingham. On the same day, the U.S. Marshal's Service will transport Rudolph to Atlanta, where he is scheduled to plead guilty before U.S. District Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr., at the federal courthouse in Atlanta.

Pursuant to the plea agreements, Rudolph disclosed to the government the existence and locations of more than 250 pounds of dynamite buried in several locations in Western North Carolina. Three of the locations were relatively near populated areas, including one location where Rudolph buried a fully constructed dynamite bomb with a detached detonator, the press release says.

At least 40 pounds of bomb-making material, mostly dynamite, was found near an armory in Murphy, N.C., near where the task force was based to search for him, according to a source close to the investigation. Authorities also found dynamite scattered throughout the North Carolina woods where agents were looking for him. Allegedly, most of the dynamite was taken from a rock quarry near Cherokee, N.C.

One woman was killed and more than a hundred injured at the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

A second bombing occured in early 1997 at an abortion clinic in Sandy Springs. Once first responders and police arrived at the building where the bombing took place, another bomb went off in a trash dumpster, resulting in several injuries. One more bombing took place in Atlanta, at a lesbian bar, The Otherside about a month later.

Early in 1998, a bombing attributed to Rudolph happened at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, resulting in two deaths.

Rudolph then disappeared into the hills of North Carolina, not to been seen until his capture two years ago.

The plea deal, set to be entered in Atlanta next Wednesday, will permit Rudolph to avoid a probable death sentence.

(More coverage from Outside The Beltway, Yippie-Ki-Yay & others)

Posted by mhking at April 8, 2005 05:27 PM

I remember watching TV the night of the bombing because my girlfriend at the time was in ATL for the Olympics. I thought it was a cameraman or male photographer that died of a heart attack during the bombing.

Was the woman referred to someone that died more directly as a result of the explosion or am I mistaken on the sex of the press person who died?

Posted by: Jeff at April 12, 2005 06:19 PM

Alice Hawthorne was fatally injured by shrapnel from the explosion itself.

If memory serves, a cameraman (I'm pretty sure he was Romanian, but I could be mistaken) died of a heart attack en route to covering the explosion.

I remember the night it happened - we had just moved into a new apartment; I had just dozed off when my wife shook me awake. I ended up watching live coverage all night long.

Posted by: Michael at April 12, 2005 08:06 PM

That sounds right about the Romanian, I had forgotten about the shrapnel death.

Posted by: Jeff at April 13, 2005 12:23 PM
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