Olympic Park Bomber Sentenced

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

August 23, 2005

Convicted bomber Eric Rudolph was sentenced for his role in three bombings in Atlanta, including the 1996 deadly bombing at Centennial Olympic Park.

Rudolph led police on an elusive manhunt until his capture in 2003. Many of the victims' relatives were on hand for the sentencing.

In a flash of explosives, Alice Hawthorne's life ended in the blast at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. Now, nine years later on what would have been her 18th wedding anniversary, her husband and daughter stood in court, eye to eye with Eric Rudolph.

"He seems lost in that I've cried enough for her, I've cried enough for me. Now, I will cry for him," said Falon Stubbs, the daughter of a bombing victim.

Rudolph was sentenced to life without parole for the Olympic Park bombing and 2 others in Atlanta. Last month he received 2 life terms for the bombing of an Alabama clinic. In the Atlanta courtroom, Rudolph read a statement apologizing only for the Olympic Park bombing, an operation that didn't go as he had planned.

"It sounded sincere. Whether it was or not no one will ever know other than him. But it was good at least hearing that," said John Hawthorne, the husband of a bombing victim.

"I don't accept his apologies at all. He looked to me straight in my eyes and he's content," said Mary Agnes Lee, a bomb victim.

In a plea bargain, Rudolph avoided the death penalty by telling authorities where to find his hidden stash of explosives.

"He may have escaped capitol punishment but his day, his life has ended today. Justice has been served," said Lori Sinnen, a bomb victim.

"I saw a scared Eric Rudolph especially when they led him away that final time [by the U.S. Marshals, and he was] led off to super max, I saw a scared Eric Rudolph," said Randy Paige, a bomb victim.

Supermax in Colorado is one of the nation's toughest prisons. There, Eric Rudolph will spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.

Convicted Unibomber, Ted Kosinsky, is also an inmate in the same prison.

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