Eric Rudolph, also known as the Olympic Park Bomber, is an American terrorist convicted for a series of anti-abortion and anti-gay-motivated bombings across the southern United States between 1996 and 1998, which killed three people and injured 150 others, including the Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
For 5 years, Rudolph was listed as one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives until he was caught in 2003.
Date of birth
Rudolph was born on September 19, 1966, in Merritt Island, Florida, the United States as Eric Robert Rudolph.
Rudolph was born in Merritt Island, Florida, After his father, Robert Rudolph, died in 1981, he moved with his mother Patricia Murphy, and siblings Daniel Rudolph, Maura Rudolph, Joel Rudolph, and Jamie Rudolph to Nantahala, Macon County, in western North Carolina.
Rudolph attended ninth grade at the Nantahala School but dropped out after that year and worked as a carpenter with his older brother Daniel. When he was 18, Rudolph spent time with his mother at a Christian Identity compound in Missouri known as the Church of Israel.
After he received his GED, Rudolph enlisted in the U.S. Army, undergoing basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia, Rudolph was discharged in January 1989, due to marijuana use, while serving with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In the year 1988, the year before his discharge, he had attended the Air Assault School at Fort Campbell. Rudolph attained the rank of Specialist/E-4.
It is not publicly known whether he is married, dating, or has any children.
At age 29, Rudolph was the perpetrator of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, which occurred on July 27, 1996, during the 1996 Summer Olympics. He made two anonymous 911 calls, warning about the bomb before it detonated. The blast killed spectator Alice Hawthorne and wounded 111 others. Melih Uzunyol, a 40 year-old Turkish news cameraman who had "survived coverage of wars in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and the Persian Gulf," suffered a fatal heart attack while running to the scene.
Rudolph's statement cleared Richard Jewell, a Centennial Olympic Park security guard, of any involvement in the bombing. Despite having been initially hailed as a hero for being the first one to spot Rudolph's explosive device and helping to clear the area, Jewell came under FBI suspicion for his alleged involvement in the crime. He became the prime suspect and the subject of international news media.
Rudolph confessed to three other bombings: of an abortion clinic in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs on January 16, 1997; of the Otherside Lounge of Atlanta, a lesbian bar, on February 21, 1997, injuring five; and of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama on January 29, 1998, killing Birmingham police officer Robert Sanderson, who was working off-duty in uniform, and critically injuring nurse Emily Lyons. Rudolph's bombs contained nails, which acted as shrapnel.
The arrest and guilty plea
Rudolph was arrested in Murphy, North Carolina on May 31, 2003 by rookie police officer Jeffrey Scott Postell of the Murphy Police Department while Rudolph was looking through a dumpster behind a Save-A-Lot store at about 4 a.m. Postell, on routine patrol, had initially suspected a burglary in progress.
Rudolph was unarmed and did not resist arrest. When arrested, he was clean-shaven with a trimmed mustache, had dyed black hair and wore a camouflage jacket, work clothes, and new sneakers. Federal authorities charged him on October 14, 2003. Rudolph was initially defended by attorney Richard S. Jaffe. After Jaffe withdrew, he was represented by Judy Clarke.
On April 8, 2005, the Department of Justice announced that Rudolph had agreed to a plea bargain under which he would plead guilty to all charges he was accused of in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. The deal was confirmed after the FBI found 250 pounds (110 kg) of dynamite he had hidden in the forests of North Carolina. His revealing the hiding places of the dynamite was a condition of his plea agreement. He made his pleas in person in Birmingham and Atlanta courts on April 13.
Rudolph released a statement explaining his actions; he rationalized the bombings as serving the cause of anti-abortion and anti-gay terrorism. In his statement, he claimed that he had "deprived the government of its goal of sentencing me to death," and that "the fact that I have entered an agreement with the government is purely a tactical choice on my part and in no way legitimates the moral authority of the government to judge this matter or impute my guilt." The terms of the plea agreement were that Rudolph would be sentenced to four consecutive life terms. He was sentenced July 18, 2005, to two consecutive life terms without parole for the 1998 murder of a police officer.
He was sentenced for his bombings in Atlanta on August 22, 2005, receiving two consecutive life terms. That same day, Rudolph was sent to the ADX Florence Supermax federal prison. Like other Supermax inmates, he spends 22½ hours per day alone in his 80 square foot (7.4 m2) concrete cell.
|Born||19th September, 1966|
|Home City||Florida, U.S.|