IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Government to seek death penalty for Rudolph

Prosecutors said Thursday that they would seek the death penalty against serial bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph in a deadly blast at an Alabama abortion clinic.
/ Source: Reuters

Federal prosecutors in Alabama said Thursday that they would seek the death penalty for Eric Rudolph, who is charged in a 1998 abortion clinic bombing that killed an off-duty police officer and maimed a nurse.

Rudolph, 37, was arrested in May in North Carolina after being on the run for five years and is being held without bond in a Birmingham jail. He is also accused of three bombings in the Atlanta area, including one at the 1996 Summer Olympics. A trial date of June 2004 on the abortion bombing charges has been requested but not set.

"After a careful review of the evidence in this case, the Attorney General [John Ashcroft] has authorized this office to seek the death penalty," Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, said in a statement.

In papers filed in federal court, prosecutors said that "a sentence of death is justified" if Rudolph was convicted of bombing the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic in Birmingham.

The filing said Rudolph intentionally killed Robert Sanderson, a police officer providing security at the clinic, and knowingly created a grave risk of death to nurse Emily Lyons and others.

Lyons was blinded in one eye and suffered hand and other injuries in the 1998 blast.

Rudolph's lawyer, Richard Jaffe, told Reuters that the move by prosecutors was "totally expected."

"We maintain that this case is nothing like what has been portrayed in the media," Jaffe said. "This is in part a political decision."