Originally created 08/21/05

Many victims won't show up



ATLANTA - Some 300 seats are being set aside for the sentencing of the man behind the deadly 1996 Olympics bombing and two other Atlanta blasts, but only about half the victims of Eric Rudolph's crimes are expected to show up.

"I don't want to give this guy any more time. It's taken enough of my time and my life," said Jane Henry, of Boca Raton, Fla., who was struck by shrapnel in her leg during the Olympic Park blast and doesn't plan to attend Monday's sentencing.

The bombing at downtown Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park killed one and injured 111, and blasts in 1997 at an abortion clinic and gay nightclub in north Atlanta wounded 11 people. All the victims were invited to attend Mr. Rudolph's sentencing, but a lawyer for several dozen of them said many don't feel the need to be there.

"A lot of my clients have told me that they're doing their very best to put it behind them," said Jay Sadd, who represented 39 of the Olympic bombing victims in a lawsuit.

In addition to moving on, victims say they are staying away because the outcome of the sentencing hearing has already been determined by a plea deal.

Mr. Rudolph will be sentenced to life in prison without parole for the three Atlanta blasts. The 38-year-old received the same sentence last month for the 1998 bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., women's clinic that killed a police officer and maimed a nurse.

He was identified as the bomber after the Birmingham blast and spent the next 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 in Murphy, N.C.

Federal prosecutors made the deal with Mr. Rudolph - who had faced a possible death sentence - in exchange for revealing the location of more than 250 pounds of stolen dynamite he had buried in the woods of western North Carolina.

Mr. Rudolph used the occasion of his sentencing in Birmingham as a forum for his views.

He portrayed himself as a devout Christian and said the bombings were motivated by his hatred of abortion and a federal government that lets it continue.

He called the plea bargain "purely a tactical choice on my part."