Wed, Jul 20, 2005 - Page 6 News List

Bomber gets life sentence for clinic attack

CONVICTED Eric Rudolph was sentenced to life without parole for the 1998 bombing of an Alabama abortion clinic, which killed a police officer and also maimed a nurse


A man convicted of the 1996 Olympic Games bombing in Atlanta was sentenced to life in prison on Monday for his role in a deadly women's clinic bombing.

An unrepentant Eric Rudolph declared that abortion must be fought with "deadly force" as he was sentenced for setting off a remote-controlled bomb at an abortion clinic that killed an off-duty police officer and maimed a nurse.

"Children are disposed of at will," the 38-year-old Rudolph said, jabbing the air in a speech that echoed a rambling manifesto he issued in April when he pleaded guilty to four bombings in all, including the blast at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

"The state is no longer the protector of the innocents," he said.

Rudolph's fiery statement came as his victims confronted him court, branding the anti-abortion extremist a cowardly "monster" and recalling how their lives were devastated by the 1998 clinic bombing in Birmingham.

"It gives me great delight to know you are going to spend the rest of your life sitting in an 8-by-12 box," said Diane Derzis, the clinic's director, .

Under a plea bargain that spared him a death sentence, Rudolph received two life sentences without parole for the Birmingham bombing. Next month, he will receive two more life terms for the deadly Olympic bombing and two other attacks in Atlanta.

Rudolph spent more than five years on the run in the North Carolina wilderness, employing the survivalist techniques he learned as a soldier. He was captured in 2003 while scavenging for food behind a grocery store.

When it was his turn to speak on Monday, Rudolph angrily lashed out at abortion and the Birmingham clinic.

"What they did was participate in the murder of 50 children a week," he said, while shackled at the ankles and wearing a red jail uniform.

"Abortion is murder and because it is murder I believe deadly force is needed to stop it," he said.

Emily Lyons, the nurse wounded by his bomb, said Rudolph was nothing but a coward.

"When it was your turn to face death you weren't so brave again," Lyons said in a forceful voice, occasionally looking across the aisle at Rudolph. "You want to see a monster, all you have to do is look in the mirror."

The bombing also killed police officer Robert "Sande" Sanderson outside of the New Woman All Women clinic. Sanderson's widow, speaking with Rudolph to her back, told the court she will "never forget the look on my son's face when I told him Sande was gone."

Lyons was wounded by flying nails and other shrapnel. She has undergone 21 operations, lost her left eye and has scars on her arms and legs. She is no longer able to work, but said Rudolph failed to deter her or the work of the clinic.

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