Bombing Suspect Eric Rudolph Indicted

Fugitive bombing suspect Eric Rudolph was indicted today on 23 counts stemming from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing and other blasts that killed two people and injured more than 120 others.

Rudolph could face the death penalty under the charges, but prosecutors have not yet decided whether to seek it.

Rudolph remains at large, having eluded a massive manhunt since a women’s health clinic bombing in 1998.

He is on FBI’s 10 most wanted list, and the agency is offering a $1,000,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

In May, the FBI hired hunters and trackers familiar with western North Carolina’s mountains, where they believed the 34-year-old outdoorsman and trained survivalist had gone into hiding.

2 Grand Juries, 23 Counts

The Justice Department said today that a federal grand jury in Georgia returned a 21-count indictment against Rudolph, accusing him of a series of bombings in Atlanta, including the 1996 Olympic Games explosion during a free concert at the Olympic Centennial Park. Alice Hawthorne, a 44-year-old Albany, Ga., woman was killed in the blast, and 120 others were injured.

Rudolph was charged with malicious use of an explosive, use of a destructive device during a crime of violence, interstate transportation of an explosive, and making a bomb threat based on his telephone call to the 911 emergency number immediately before the bombing.

He also was charged in the Atlanta-area explosions outside an abortion clinic in January 1997, which caused numerous injuries, and the bombing at a predominantly lesbian nightclub in February 1997, which resulted in several more injuries.

A federal grand jury in Alabama also filed a two-count indictment against Rudolph for the Jan. 29, 1998, bombing of the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic in Birmingham, charging him with setting off a bomb that killed an off-duty police officer.

Officer Robert D. Sanderson died in the attack, which also seriously injured clinic nurse Emily Lyons.

Federal authorities had previously filed criminal complaints against Rudolph and issued arrest warrants against him in connection with the bombings. Justice Department officials said they secured a formal indictment of Rudolph today because the investigations had been essentially completed.

They said charges in the Olympics bombing required an indictment by next summer to avoid statute-of-limitations problems.

Doug Jones, the U.S. attorney in Birmingham, said in a statement that a federal task force “continues the efforts to locate” and arrest Rudolph.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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