Archive for Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Rudolph transferred to Alabama

June 3, 2003

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— After five years on the run, Olympic bombing suspect Eric Rudolph was put aboard a government plane in handcuffs and flown to Alabama to face trial first in a deadly abortion clinic attack that authorities say offers the strongest case against him.

Wearing an orange inmate jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled, Rudolph had no comment as he was led into the county jail in Birmingham.

Rudolph, 36, appeared in federal court hours earlier in Asheville, N.C., acknowledging his identity but entering no plea. He is charged in four bombings, three in Atlanta and one in Alabama, and could get the death penalty.

Afterward, his North Carolina attorney, Sean Devereux, said Rudolph was innocent.

Devereux met with Rudolph on Sunday and again on Monday, and said they did not talk about what Rudolph had been doing while on the run. He said Rudolph, who is believed to have been a member of a white supremacist religion, seemed to be a "reflective individual."

"If I didn't know what I know about this case and having spent about two hours with him, I would never believe that he would hold any kind of radical beliefs," he told reporters.

He also said Rudolph told police the location of his campsite in western North Carolina, where he is believed to have hidden for the past five years before he was captured Saturday while scavenging for food behind a supermarket.

Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft said in Washington that Rudolph would be tried first in Birmingham, where the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic was bombed in 1998, and then in Atlanta, site of the 1996 Olympic bombing and two other blasts linked to Rudolph.

Evidence gathered after the Birmingham bombing on Jan. 29, 1998, led to Rudolph being identified as the lone suspect in all the blasts, which killed two people and injured more than 150.

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