Eric Rudolph

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A woman injured by one of Eric Rudolph's bombs says she's "nauseated" that a plea deal lets him avoid the death penalty.

At a federal court in Birmingham, Alabama today, Rudolph pleaded guilty to a 1998 abortion clinic bombing that killed a police officer. In all, he's pleading guilty today to four bombings.

He spoke only to confirm he understood his charges, and answered questions from the judge. He said the government could "just barely" prove its case.

Emily Lyons, who was wounded in the Alabama blast, says it appears Rudolph is being punished only for the bombings and not for the two deaths and scores of injuries they caused. Lyons says Rudolph deserves a death penalty -- and the deal that brings him life sentences makes her feel like the victims "were a freebie."

The husband of the woman killed in the Atlanta Olympics bombing says he was "disappointed" in Rudolph's "demeanor and attitude" at the Alabama hearing. John Hawthorne says it was "very unsettling." He says the next hearing today in Atlanta will be "a lot more personal."

Courtroom Scene

With a wink toward prosecutors, Eric Rudolph pleads guilty to
bombing

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A relaxed Eric Rudolph winked at prosecutors as he entered a federal courtroom today to admit planting a bomb that killed a Birmingham police officer and critically injured a nurse in January 1998.

That bombing came 18 months after he set off the deadly bomb at the Atlanta Olympics. In between, bombs went off at a gay nightclub and an abortion clinic in the Atlanta area in 1997.

With his head tilted back, Rudolph calmly told federal Judge Lynwood Smith he placed the bomb outside the Birmingham clinic. His response, "I did, your honor." When asked did he caused that bomb to detonate, he replied, "I certainly did, your honor. His defiant tone infuriated some victims who were in the courtroom.

Birmingham clinic owner Diane Derzis told reporters that Rudolph's tone was arrogant.

Dressed in a red jail uniform, Rudolph told Smith the government's evidence was "just barely" enough to convict him, yet he also called it "sufficient."

When the Alabama hearing concluded, Smith handed Rudolph over to U-S marshals for the trip to Atlanta for the second plea hearing.

Under the plea deal, Rudolph will be sentenced to four life terms, escaping a possible death sentence.


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