CBS’s riveting new miniseries ‘Manhunt: Deadly Games’ follows the real-life FBI investigation and the extensive 5-year-long manhunt for the terrorist responsible for the July 1996 bombing in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, in which 100 people were injured and one person died. The man called Eric Rudolph was ultimately found and captured in 2003, 7 years after the bombing. When apprehended, he did not resist his arrest and readily admitted to the Olympic bombing and three others. Who is Eric Rudolph and why did he bomb four different places? Where is he today? Let’s find out.
Who is Eric Rudolph?
Eric Robert Rudolph is an extremist militant and a white supremacist who is responsible for four bombings between 1996 – 1998, killing a total of 3 people and injuring 150. Born in Florida in September 1966, Rudolph moved to North Carolina with his mother and siblings in 1981. As a teenager, Rudolph spent some time with one of the factions of the white supremacist group Christian Identity in Missouri. He then enlisted in the US Army and served at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, before getting discharged in January 1989 for marijuana use.
When he was 29 years old, Rudolph became the perpetrator of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing which occurred on July 27, during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He did this to embarrass the Washington government in front of the entire world, on a global level, for its role in sanctioning abortion on demand. Rudolph is outspokenly and vehemently against abortion (considering it an unpardonable act of murder) and also holds extremely regressive views on homosexuality. It was his anti-abortion and anti-gay views that drove him to plant and detonate those bombs. After the Olympic bombing in 1996, Rudolph bombed an abortion clinic in the quiet suburbs of Sandy Springs in Atlanta, on January 16, 1997. Then he also targeted the Otherside Lounge of Atlanta which was a lesbian bar, on February 21, 1997 (grievously injuring five people), and finally orchestrated another bombing at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama on January 29, 1998, killing a local police officer, and critically injuring a nurse.
Rudolph was identified as a suspect in the bombings in 1998 after he was seen by two witnesses right before the Alabama bombing. After he was successfully identified, the FBI listed his name on their Ten Most Wanted List and a manhunt was launched for Rudolph. He managed to escape capture for the next five years by living in the Appalachian wilderness as a fugitive. He used to camp in forests, gathering food from the wilderness or stealing from dumpsters in nearby towns and that’s how he survived for half a decade. Finally, in May 2003, Rudolph was caught raiding dumpsters in Murphy, North Carolina, by police officer Jeffrey Scott Postell of the Murphy Police Department. He did not resist arrest and came quietly.
Where is Eric Rudolph Now?
In 2005, in order to escape trial which could have ended in the death penalty, Rudolph made a plea bargain with the Department of Justice. Under the plea deal, he revealed to the FBI the hiding places of 250 pounds of dynamite that he had hidden in the forests of North Carolina. He also readily pleaded guilty to all the charges that he was accused of in exchange for avoiding a trial and potential death penalty. Rudolph escaped the death penalty by not going to trial but he was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences in prison, without any possibility of parole. Today, he is still incarcerated at the ADX Florence Supermax prison near Florence, Colorado, and he will never again set foot outside the prison walls, for as long as he lives. (Featured Image Credit: FBI Ten Most Wanted List)
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