After five years of preparation, federal prosecutors today begin the painstaking process of proving that Eric Robert Rudolph should be executed for the bombing of a Birmingham women’s health clinic that killed an off-duty police officer, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Rudolph, 36, was transported yesterday from Asheville, N.C., to Birmingham, ala., where he will be tried in the 1998 clinic bombing that also severely wounded a nurse. Federal authorities intend to put Rudolph on trial in Georgia in three bombings he is accused of committing in metro Atlanta, including a blast at Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Games.
Prosecutors believe they have the strongest case in Birmingham. Judges in the Northern District of Alabama are known for moving criminal cases quickly, typically bringing a case to trial within 70 days after arraignment. But Rudolph’s case is anything but typical.
“I think this case will move right along, but this is not a case that can be tried in the next 60 or 90 days,” said Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney in Birmingham. “I’m sure the court will give the defense plenty of time to decipher all the forensic evidence, because there will be a lot of it.”
Authorities in Alabama said the passage of time and the departure of some investigators haven’t hurt their case. “The case has been ready to go for some time,” said FBI agent Craig Dahle. “We’d be ready to go tomorrow if we had to.”