Eric Robert Rudolph
On July 27, 1996, the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia are disrupted by the explosion of a nail-laden pipe bomb in Centennial Olympic Park. The bombing, which occurred during a free concert, killed one and injured more than 100 others.
Police were warned of the bombing in advance, but the device exploded before the anonymous caller said it would, leading authorities to suspect that law enforcement officers were the target. Within a few days, Richard Jewell, a security guard at the concert, was charged with the crime. However, evidence against him was questionable, and in October he was fully cleared of responsibility. On January 29, 1998, an abortion clinic was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama, killing an off-duty police officer and critically wounding a nurse. An automobile reported at the crime scene was later found abandoned near the Georgia state line, and investigators traced it to Eric Robert Rudolph, a 31-year-old carpenter. Although Rudolph was not immediately located, authorities positively identified him as the culprit in the Atlanta bombing, and an extensive manhunt began. Despite being one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives, Rudolph eluded the authorities for five years by hiding in the mountains of western North Carolina before finally being captured on May 31, 2003. As part of a plea agreement that helped him avoid a death sentence, Rudolph pled guilty to the bombings, as well as other crimes, and was sentenced on July 18, 2005 to four consecutive life terms.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California 1849-1949. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following link: