Court uphold life sentences for Atlanta Olympics and abortion clinic bomber

A federal appeals court has upheld the multiple life sentences given to a man for fatal bombings at an Alabama abortion clinic and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics

ByThe Associated Press
February 12, 2024, 8:53 PM

ATLANTA -- ATLANTA (AP) —

A man sentenced to life imprisonment for fatal bombings at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and an Alabama abortion clinic will not get a chance at a new sentence, an appeals court ruled Monday.

A three-judge of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that Eric Robert Rudolph remains bound to the terms of his 2005 plea agreement in which he accepted multiple life sentences to escape the death penalty.

“Eric Rudolph is bound by the terms of his own bargain. He negotiated to spare his life, and in return he waived the right to collaterally attack his sentences in any post-conviction proceedings,” Judge Britt Grant wrote in the opinion.

Rudolph admitted to carrying out the carrying out the deadly bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and three other attacks in Georgia and Alabama. He pleaded guilty to multiple counts of arson and of using a destructive device during a crime of violence.

Rudolph argued he was due a new sentence after a 2019 U.S.Supreme Court ruling in which justices found that a statute providing enhanced penalties for using a firearm or deadly device during a “crime of violence" was unconstitutionally vague. The 11th Circuit rejected his claim.

The bombing during a musical show at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta on July 27, 1996, killed one person and injured dozens. The bombing at the New Woman All Women in Birmingham on Jan. 29, 1998, killed a Birmingham police officer and seriously wounded a clinic nurse.

Rudolph also set bombs outside a Georgia abortion clinic and an Atlanta nightclub popular with gay people.