Admitted serial bomber Eric Rudolph will be sentenced today by a federal judge in Birmingham to life in prison for placing a homemade explosive in a planter at the New Woman All Women clinic – a women’s clinic that performs abortions – and detonating it on the morning of Jan. 29, 1998. The blast killed off-duty police officer Robert Sanderson, who was working security. Under a plea agreement, Rudolph, 38, will spend the rest of his days in a maximum-security prison, likely in Colorado, with no opportunity for release.
Rudolph was spared a death penalty trial after agreeing to disclose where he had hidden explosives in the North Carolina mountains. Rudolph said he was responsible for the Birmingham blast and three bombings in the Atlanta area – a Sandy Springs abortion clinic where seven people were hurt in 1997; the Otherside Lounge, a gay and lesbian club in Atlanta where four people were injured in 1997; and Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. One person, Alice Hawthorne, died in the Centennial Olympic Park blast, and 111 people were injured. After bombing the Birmingham clinic in 1998, Rudolph fled to the rugged North Carolina mountains, where he hid for more than five years despite a massive manhunt. He was arrested in 2003.