State News

February 23, 2013

Convicted bomber publishes book from prison

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Eric Rudolph, who is serving a life sentence for bombings that killed two people in Alabama and Georgia in the 1990s, has published his autobiography from prison with the help of his brother.

The book — titled “Between the Lines of Drift: The Memoirs of a Militant” — is hardly a best-seller: It ranked No. 24,040 in sales on Friday at a website that allows authors to publish their own works. But the government said it will still try to seize any profits from sales, no matter the amount.

“He can’t derive any benefit at all from his crimes,” said Michael Whisonant, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Rudolph in the deadly bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham.

The 394-page book begins with Rudolph’s account of his capture in 2003 after more than five years on the run. Rudolph’s brother Daniel K. Rudolph is listed as the publisher, and he also is credited with the simple line drawings that illustrate the book.

While his brother was the subject of a manhunt in 1998, Daniel Rudolph videotaped himself cutting off his hand as what he called a message to the media and the FBI. Doctors successfully reattached the hand.

A police artist’s sketch of Eric Rudolph — obtained from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation through a records request — decorates the cover of the book.

Rudolph, 46, pleaded guilty to detonating a bomb at a downtown park during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The blast killed a woman, and a man suffered a fatal heart attack after the explosion.

Rudolph also pleaded guilty to using a remote control device to set off a bomb outside a now-defunct abortion clinic in downtown Birmingham in 1998. That bombing killed a police officer and critically injured a clinic nurse.

Two witnesses saw Rudolph leaving the scene of the Birmingham bombing, but he disappeared into the Appalachian forest before authorities reached his rural home near Murphy, N.C. He was finally captured by a police officer who spotted him searching for food in a trash container behind a grocery store in Murphy.

The book includes Rudolph’s explanations of why he set off the bombs as part of a personal war against abortion, and it recounts his capture by city police in Murphy.

“They wanted my fingerprints. Once those fingerprints were put into the system, the FBI would be along shortly. The jig was up,” writes Rudolph.

Rudolph is held in a one-person cell at a federal maximum-security prison in Florence, Colo., but has previously written stories and essays that are posted online by supporters. His book, a paperback, is available online for $19.95 through Lulu.com, which is based in Raleigh, N.C., and says it publishes about 20,000 titles monthly.

The company’s website says authors keep all the rights to their works and make 80 percent of the profit from any sales.

Whisonant, the prosecutor, said federal law bars criminals from profiting from their actions, and Rudolph won’t be allowed to make anything off his autobiography.

“I’m sure we will look into seizing any money he may make from that,” Whisonant said.

 

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