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Antigay bomber
gets another life sentence

Antigay bomber
gets another life sentence

Right before a judge sentenced him to life in prison on Monday, Eric Rudolph apologized to the victims of the 1996 Olympics blast in Atlanta, saying, "I would do anything to take that night back." He said he had wanted to anger and embarrass the U.S. government because it does not prohibit abortions and that he wanted to harm only government workers. "I can't begin to truly understand the pain that I have inflicted on these innocent people," Rudolph said, reading a statement. "To those victims, I apologize."

Rudolph, whose openly gay brother, Jamie Rudolph, is reportedly living in Manhattan, did not, however, apologize for the 1997 bombing of a gay Atlanta nightclub, which injured several people.

Rudolph addressed the court after 14 victims and relatives told of the horror he caused and their wishes that he suffer for the rest of his days. A 10-minute video tribute to Alice Hawthorne, the woman killed in the Olympics blast, also was shown. Monday would have been the 18th wedding anniversary for John and Alice Hawthorne. "Every anniversary has been filled with anger, weeping, and sorrow, but this anniversary brings to an end a very painful and emotional chapter in this family," John Hawthorne told Rudolph in a packed courtroom. "This is the day Alice can rest, for justice is finally being served."

Rudolph was sentenced to life in prison without parole--four consecutive life sentences plus 120 years--and fined $2.3 million in restitution for a series of bombings across the South, including the Olympics blast and two other bombings in the Atlanta area. Last month he was sentenced to life in prison for a deadly explosion in Birmingham, Ala. "I do take some professional satisfaction of being part of a process that prevents you from killing or hurting anybody else," U.S. district judge Charles A. Pannell told Rudolph as he announced the sentence.

The Olympics bombing killed Hawthorne, 44, of Albany, Ga., and injured 111. The 1998 bombing at a women's clinic in Birmingham killed a police officer and maimed a nurse. The other Atlanta bombs, detonated in 1997 at an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub, injured 11.

Rudolph was identified after the Birmingham blast and spent the next five years hiding out in the mountains of western North Carolina. He was captured in 2003 while scavenging for food behind a grocery store in Murphy, N.C. Prosecutors and the former soldier struck a deal: They wouldn't seek the death penalty, and he would tell them where to find more than 250 pounds of stolen dynamite he had buried.

Rudolph smirked and rolled his eyes during Monday's testimony by some of the victims, especially those refuting his antiabortion, antigay beliefs. He laughed under his breath when one of the victims said it was appropriate that when authorities finally found Rudolph he was scavenging for food from a trash container.

Rudolph will serve his sentence at the maximum security federal prison in Colorado. The prison, southeast of Denver, also is home to Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber; Richard Reid, who tried to ignite a shoe bomb on a trans-Atlantic flight; and Terry Nichols, who helped carry out the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. (AP)

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