Eric Rudolph Sentencing

Eric Rudolph Confesses
By  | 

Confessed bomber Eric Rudolph -- who remained defiant when he admitted setting deadly explosions in Birmingham and Atlanta -- has only discussed his reasons in written statements.

Yet one of his victims hopes to get some glimmer of response from Rudolph when she comes face to face with the anti-abortion extremist in federal court today in Birmingham for a sentencing hearing.

Emily Lyons was critically injured in the 1998 blast outside the abortion clinic where she worked as a nurse. She says she wants to tell Rudolph -- quote -- "You did not shut the clinic down. You did not shut me down."

The 38-year-old Rudolph pleaded guilty in April to setting off a remote-controlled bomb that maimed Lyons and killed police officer Robert Sanderson outside the clinic on the morning of January 29th, 1998.

She plans to release her self-published book about the bombing today -- her 49th birthday.

Under a plea agreement that let Rudolph avoid a possible death penalty, Rudolph confessed to the Alabama bombing and to the bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that killed one woman and injured more than 100. He also admitted setting off bombs at an abortion clinic and gay bar in Atlanta in 1997.

He was captured in May 2003 after more than five years as a fugitive in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Under the agreement, federal judges in Birmingham and Atlanta will sentence him to four life terms without parole. Rudolph's sentencing in Georgia is set for August 22nd, and victims of the Atlanta bombings will have a chance to speak then.


  • Eric Rudolph has pleaded guilty to bombing an Alabama abortion clinic in 1998.

  • Later, he's expected to plead guilty to three bombings in Atlanta.

  • His attorney says Rudolph eventually will say why and how he set off the blasts.

  • Rudolph is set to release a written statement sometime after the plea hearings.

  • Sentencing should happen in about 3 months.

  • Until then, he'll be in the county jail in Birmingham.


  • The Justice Department says Rudolph will serve four consecutive life sentences.

  • He'll have no possibility for parole.

  • Justice officials agreed to drop the death penalty.

  • Rudolph also agreed to lead investigators to 250 pounds of explosives in NC.


  • Eric Robert Rudolph was born September 19, 1966.

  • He is 38 years old.

  • Rudolph is an Army veteran.

  • In a high school essay, he argued the holocaust was a hoax.

  • He is originally from Florida. He moved to North Carolina in 1981.

  • January 1998, Rudolph disappeared into the North Carolina mountains.

  • He went on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in May 1998. They offered a $1 million reward.

  • May 31, 2003, Rudolph was captured. Police saw him rummaging
    through trash in Murphy, N.C.


  • Overall: 4 bombings, 2 people killed, at least 123 people injured.

  • July 27, 1996 - Olympic park bombing in Atlanta. One woman killed, 111 injured.

  • January 16, 1997 - Two bombs near Atlanta abortion clinic. Six people injured.

  • February 21, 1997 - Bombing at lesbian nightclub in Atlanta. Five people injured.

  • January 29, 1998 - Abortion clinic in Birmingham bombed. Off-duty policeman killed. 1 injury.


  • 1996, Olympic Park: Exploding knapsack sent nails and screws through a crowd in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. It went off during a concert at the summer Olympics. Alice Hawthorne, 44, is killed and 111 people are wounded.

  • 1997, Atlanta abortion clinic: Two bombs explode at an office building in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs, wounding six. An abortion clinic in the building is believed to be the target. Authorities call the first, small blast a "sucker bomb," saying they believe it was intended to draw law enforcement into the building before the second, larger explosion.

  • 1997, Atlanta nightclub: Device full of nails explodes at the Otherside Lounge, a nightclub for gays and lesbians. The lounge was crowded with about 150 people when the device went off on a rear patio. Five people were wounded.

  • 1998, Alabama abortion clinic: Explosion kills off-duty policeman Robert "Sande" Sanderson and maims nurse Emily Lyons at New Woman All Women Health Care, a clinic that performed abortions in Birmingham. The bomb was disguised to look like a potted plant and placed beside a walkway to the clinic. Police believe it was detonated by remote control.