Born In: Merritt Island, Florida, United States
Eric Rudolph is an American terrorist who has been convicted for a series of bombings including the one at the Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park in 1996 which led to the death of two people and injury of over hundred. He was also convicted for bombing an abortion clinic in Atlanta, a women’s clinic in Birmingham and a lesbian nightclub in Atlanta which led to the death and injury of more people. He was charged in 1998 and a massive manhunt was launched to capture him. He was also placed in the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list. However, a skilled outdoorsman, he manged to evade the authorities for five years before being ultimately caught by a rookie policeman. He subsequently agreed to a plea bargain – to save himself from death sentence – and pled guilty to the charges against him in all four bombings. He is currently serving four life terms at the ADX Florence Supermax prison near Florence, Colorado.
Also Known As: Eric Robert Rudolph
father: Robert Rudolph
mother: Patricia Murphy
siblings: Daniel Rudolph, Jamie Rudolph, Joel Rudolph, Maura Rudolph
Born Country: United States
education: Western Carolina University, Nantahala School
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Eric Robert Rudolph was born on 19 September 1966, in Merritt Island,Florida, to Robert Rudolph and Patricia Murphy. His siblings included Daniel Rudolph, Jamie Rudolph, Maura Rudolph and Joel Rudolph.
His father expired in 1981 after which he and his family shifted to Nantahala,Macon County, in western North Carolina.
He joined the Nantahala School but left after ninth grade to work as a carpenter along with his elder brother Daniel.
At the age of eighteen, along with his mother, he spent some time with the Church of Israel, a Christian Identity compound in Missouri.
He passed his GED and thereafter joined the US army and received basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia.
In 1988, he attended the Air Assault School at Fort Campbell and reached the rank of Specialist/E-4. The following year he was discharged from the duty for smoking marijuana. At that time, he was serving the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
On July 27, 1996 a bomb exploded in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park where people had got together to celebrate the Olympics. The blast resulted in the death of two people and more than 100 people getting injured.
A security guard Richard Jewell, who had first seen Rudolph's explosive device and assisted in clearing the area thereby saving many lives, initially became the prime suspect. His name was later cleared.
Three more bombings took place – one in abortion clinic in Atlanta suburbs of Sandy Springs (January 1997) which injured seven people followed by another one in a lesbian nightclub in Atlanta (February 1997) which injured four people.
The third one took place in a women’s health clinic in Birmingham, Alabama (January 1998) and killed an off-duty police officer Robert Sanderson and critically injured a nurse Emily Lyons.
Eric Rudolph became a suspect for the first time after the 1998 Birmingham, Alabama bombing. He was spotted by two witnesses – Jeffrey Tickal and Jermaine Hughes – who saw him leaving the scene with his pickup truck. He was charged as a suspect in the Birmingham bombing in Feb 1998.
His family backed him and believed in his innocence. His brother, Daniel cut off his hand in protest of his brother’s treatment by the FBI and media. The hand was later reattached by surgeons.
In May 1998, FBI placed him on Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and offered a reward of $1 million for leads that would result in his capture.
In July the same year, he reportedly took away six-month supply of food and the pickup truck from of a North Carolina health food store owner and left behind five $100 bills.
Later, in October 1998, he was charged in the three Atlanta bombings – Centennial Olympic Park, the abortion clinic and the nightclub.
Despite a massive manhunt launched to capture him, Rudolph succeeded in evading arrest for five years.
He was finally arrested by a rookie policeman, Jeff Postell, early in the morning on 31st May 2003 while he was digging through a trash bin behind a rural grocery story.
On 8th April 2005, shortly before his trial was supposed to start, the Department of Justice declared that Eric Rudolph, in order to escape death sentence, had agreed to a plea bargain and will plead guilty to all four bombings.
He also revealed the location – in the forests of North Carolina – where he had hidden 250 pounds of dynamite. He revealed that his anti-abortion and anti-gay views were reasons for bombing.
For his crimes, he received four life sentences without the possibility of parole and was sent to Supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado in August 2005.
With assistance from his brother, Eric Rudolph released his autobiography Between the Lines of Drift: The Memoirs of a Militant in the year 2013. The royalties – an amount of $200 – gained from the sale of the book were seized by the US Attorney's General as part of $1 million payment that Rudolph owes in restitution to the state of Alabama.
In 2020, Rudolph filed a hand written appellate motion to vacate two of his life sentences which he claimed violated the constitution. He stated that he deserves a resentencing since his original sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law.
The second season of drama anthology series Manhunt Deadly Games (2020) revolves around the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Park Bombing and its two suspects, the security guard Richard Jewell and Eric Rudolph.
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