Eric Rudolph Cops Plea for Life Sentence

Serial murderer Eric Rudolph has agreed to a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence.

Rudolph agrees to plead guilty CNN)

Accused 1996 Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph has agreed to plead guilty to all charges against him in connection with that bombing and three others — including a deadly 1998 bombing in Alabama. The reported plea deal would give Rudolph a life sentence, sources close to the case said Friday. An announcement was expected to be made at the Justice Department in Washington later in the day, sources said.

Authorities in North Carolina said they uncovered explosives as the result of information provided by Rudolph in negotiations with prosecutors. Jury selection in Rudolph’s trial for the 1998 bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama, women’s clinic began Wednesday. A police officer was killed and a nurse was injured by the bomb that went off outside the New Woman All Women Health Clinic on the morning of January 29, 1998. Rudolph had faced the death penalty in his Birmingham trial. The tentative plea agreement would allow Rudolph to avoid a possible death sentence in the Alabama case.

In addition to the Birmingham bombing, Rudolph is charged with the bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, that killed one person and injured more than 100.

Rudolph also is charged in the 1997 bombings of an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub in the Atlanta area.

Somehow, life in prison seems too light a sentence for this dirtbag. Still, one never knows what a jury will do.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Michael says:

    You know it’s quite a bit cheaper to keep someone in jail for the rest of his life than it is to kill him?

    Not that you made that point. I just thought that was interesting when I learned it.

  2. James Joyner says:

    That’s only true, though, because of the endless string of appeals we allow. It would be much cheaper if we forceed them to consolidate all their appeals and they only got one shot through the system.

  3. Kathy K says:

    Oh, I dunno… the thought of him spending the rest of his life in jail is kinda nice.

    I’ve often thought that the death penalty is far kinder than life as a prisoner.

  4. Mark says:

    We could, er, send him to be interrogated by the Saudis for a decade or so as part of his life sentence…

  5. kappiy says:

    The description of Rudolph as a “serial murderer” is inaccurate. Although the prosecutors have not pursued Rudolph’s motives, given his political alliances and his bombing targets, it is more reasonable to think of him as a terrorist in the vein as McVeigh or Bin Laden. In fact Attorney General Gonzalez described Rudolph’s bombings as terrorist attacks on Friday.

    It is interesting to compare Rudolph’s treatment with that of suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui–who is alleged to have participated in the 9/11 attacks in some way (even though he was in jail at the time and the government has not produced any evidence to support their contention). I believe that the government is still seeking the death penalty for Moussaoui–although the case is on appeal right now.

    If the government is willing to plea bargain with terrorists, one would think that Moussaoui would be more valuable in terms of national security. The plea in the Rudolph case is pretty paltry–he’s just telling the government where he is stashed some dynamite While it is probably good to get dyamite off the streets, it doesn’t do mch to stop terrorist networks.