The Atlanta Bombing

News Articles & Commentary

Presented By

Bonnie M. Wells

Wrongly Suspected Richard Jewell

Richard Jewell (AP)

In the first few days after the bombing, Richard Jewell was lionized. He was a hero since he had first seen the suspicious object and alerted others to it. Several TV networks and newspapers interviewed him. He had helped to save lives that might have been otherwise lost. The quick-thinking Jewell, who had previously worked as a North Georgia sheriff’s deputy, seemed to have a bright future ahead in law enforcement.

But only three days after the explosion, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a story saying that police were investigating the possibility that Jewell had planted the bomb.

FBI agents interviewed Jewell, and their aggressive questioning led him to ask for an attorney. An obviously offended Jewell adamantly told reporters that he was innocent.

Doubts swirling around Jewell may not have been entirely unreasonable. There is a well known phenomenon of people who so desperately desire to be proclaimed heroes that they deliberately cause crises so they can intervene in them.

On July 31, 1996, FBI agents searched Jewell’s apartment. A large crowd of journalists and camera people hovered nearby as the security guard’s property was hauled away as evidence.

Bombing victims Lorenzo Espinosa and Nancy Davis filed suit against Jewell in August 1996. Espinosa also sued AT&T, Anthony Davis Associates (company hired to provide security personnel) and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Davis also sued AT&T and Anthony Davis Associates. Things appeared grim for Richard Jewell. Then on August 20, retired FBI agent Dick Rackleff, who had been retained by Jewell’s legal team, announced that Jewell had passed a polygraph.

A few days later, Jewell’s mother, Barbara Jewell, appeared on television. She was weeping as she asked President Bill Clinton to exonerate her son. But U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno refused to clear Jewell or apologize to him

Judge Owen Forrester

On October 23, US District Judge Owen Forrester was making a ruling on an FBI request and said he thought Jewell was not, at that time, a suspect. On October 26, U.S. Attorney Kent Alexander told Jewell that he was no longer under investigation.

Both the Espinosa and Davis lawsuits against Jewell were dismissed in November 1996.

The hero was a genuine hero but one who had lived for months under a very dark cloud.

Jewell appeared at a televised news conference. Wearing a simple, white- and blue-striped shirt that was open at the collar, Jewell said, “I am not the Olympic Park bomber. I am a man who has lived 88 days afraid of being arrested for a crime I did not commit.”

Sometimes tearful, Jewell went on to criticize both the FBI and the news media for how his case was handled. He said the FBI latched onto him “in its rush to show the world it could get its man.” He also said the news media distorted his background to show he fit the profile of a bomber. “Let the headline be based on the facts,” he told them. “Don’t shape the facts to fit the headline.”

Contrary to previous suspicions about him, Jewell claimed he had never sought the limelight of heroism on the night of the bombing. “I set out to do my job,” he stated firmly, “and do it right.”

In August 1997 Attorney General Reno publicly apologized to Jewell and deplored the leak to the media that made his name known as a suspect. “I regret very much the leak that made him an object of so much public attention,” Reno commented. “I don’t think any apology is sufficient when somebody has gone through . . . what Mr. Jewell has gone through.”

Jewell got a job with a police force in Luthersville, Georgia, in November 1997. Luthersville is a small town some 50 miles south of Atlanta. In May 1998 he helped unblock the airway of a choking baby brought to the Luthersville Police Department by the infant’s frantic parents.

The falsely accused Jewell filed several lawsuits against organizations he contended had libeled him, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Piedmont College (at which he had worked as a security guard), ABC, CNN and NBC. The newspaper and the television stations were accused of libeling him in their reporting, while Piedmont was accused of giving out misleading information about his conduct when employed there. Piedmont, ABC, CNN and NBC all reached out of court settlements with Jewell. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution fought the charges.

At one point, the judge in the case of Richard Jewell v. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fulton County State Court Judge John Mather, ordered Journal reporters to name sources for articles about him. They refused. He ordered them put in jail for contempt of court, but the newspapers immediately appealed and the order was stayed.

The judge ultimately decided in the newspaper’s favor, ruling that Jewell was a “public figure” at the time the newspaper reported on him.

Jewell’s attorneys appealed that ruling to the Georgia Court of Appeals. The paper appealed Mather’s ruling that journalists had to disclose confidential sources to the same court.

The Georgia Court of Appeals handed two victories to the newspaper. It reversed the lower court’s ruling that the reporters had to divulge their sources while upholding its judgment that Jewell was a public figure. Jewell has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision holding that he was a public figure. They have not done so yet. According to Peter Canfield, attorney for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Supreme Court will likely take it up this fall.

 

Commentary By Bonnie M. Wells

When Richard Jewel was named a suspect in the Olympic bombing in Georgia, I immediately fired off a letter to the FBI and informed them that "they had the wrong man!"

Never one to fear the truth, or to support a mistake or a lie, I had no choice but to tell the FBI what I sensed about the bombing suspect ..... the true suspect ..... and Richard Jewel did NOT fit the picture!

I received no response from the FBI... not that I'd actually expected any. I'd also sent them information on the Unabomer .... information that had panned out when Ted Kaczynski was finally caught ..... but I'd heard nothing then either. It didn't matter to me. I was accustomed to living in Washington County Ohio where credit was never given; where one person's work was often given to others that had never done it so that they might receive any and all credit, while the actual worker got ridiculed, slandered and ignored.

Actually, what I told the FBI {as well as local cops} was that the real bomber was ....

1. an "east coast" loner / 2. a drifter - outdoor - beach bum type / 3. a man with shaggy brown hair that often appeared dirty and unkempt / 4. a man who {when caught} would be wearing jeans, tennis shoes or rough-tread hiking type shoes and who would be carrying a backpack of some type.

Like I said, there was never any response, but as the above article shows, eventually they had no choice but release Richard Jewel because the man was not guilty. Of course what was done to his life is of no concern to the FBI or anyone else .... well, it's of a concern to me, but who am I? Who's ever going to hear of me regardless of what I said, or to whom? No one ..... or so they think.

We shall see.

 

Eric Rudolph

Eric Robert Rudolph is a white male born on September 19, 1966, in Merritt Island, Florida. His family moved to the rural area of Nantahala, North Carolina, where he was raised. He knows the forest well, having spent much time camping and hiking there as a teenager. Acquaintances have described him as a “survivalist.”

He is a rather handsome man with brown hair, blue eyes, pale skin and a medium build. He has worked as a carpenter and roofer and served 18 months in the armed forces.

The day after the bomb went off in Birmingham, Rudolph is believed to have returned to his rural home near Murphy, North Carolina. There he visited a video store and rented Kull the Conqueror. The movie has never been returned.

Authorities believe that Rudoph fled into the rugged hills of North Carolina two days after the bombing in Birmingham. There are a lot of places to hide in that mountainous terrain, which has hundreds of caves and abandoned mines.

Rudolph is known to be solitary so it is doubtful that a group assisted him in either the bombings themselves or his life on the lam. “He is charged alone,” Crosby said. “Possibly he’s had help in hiding but there’s no evidence to indicate that. He’s been quite a loner for a long time. He would walk right into the middle of a rainstorm or into the forest with just a backpack and a poncho.”

Searchers from dozens of agencies descended on the Nantahala region of North Carolina hill country. Teams searched with bloodhounds and from helicopters with heat-seeking equipment.

The FBI offered, and still offers, a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

Though unsuccessful, the search did help fuel the economy of the region. Government agents and reporters required housing, food, supplies and entertainment. Profits spiked for hotels and motels, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and just about every other sort of business in the area.

Bumper stickers and T-shirts with Rudolph jokes and slogans began appearing throughout North Carolina. One restaurant put on its marquee: “Rudolph eats here.”

On February 8, 1998, hunters walking in the woods close to Murphy came upon Rudolph’s pickup truck.

The last reported sighting of Rudolph was on July 7, 1998. The suspect visited George Nordmann, a friend who owned a health food store. Nordmann’s daughter had once dated Rudolph.

Rudolph told Nordmann, “I need some supplies because I’m heading for the hills.” Rudolph stocked his pickup truck up with food and gave Nordmann $500 in $100 bills. “I’m going where no man or dog can reach me,” Rudolph said before taking off. Nordmann waited a few days before notifying authorities of the incident.

Unfortunately, the wanted man took on a kind of folk hero aura to some people. One reason for this twisted admiration was that he was eluding a massive manhunt, seemingly thumbing his nose at the combined powers of state and federal governments. Others, including the most extreme opponents of legalized abortion and the most rabidly anti-gay, cheered Rudolph on because of his choice of targets.

Nantahala resident John Wagner told journalists, “A lot of people say he killed people who were killing babies.” Wagner’s wife, Joy, who writes for a local publication, the Andrews Journal, said, “I think those who support him are just a few.” However, a flurry of leaflets appeared in Andrews denouncing the investigators as “jack-booted thugs.”

The government spent several million dollars in the search for the fugitive. But they have not found Rudolph as of this writing. Jack Killorin, Atlanta’s agent in charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, maintains that the money has not been wasted. “What do you get for your money?” he asked rhetorically. “With the search, he’s been identified and charged. What’s left is for him to be apprehended. We believe our pressure on him has helped protect against other incidents.”

Indeed, the fact that Rudolph has not been caught and that there have been no more bombings linked to him has led many people to conclude that he is dead. This in turn led one Nantahala resident, John Wagner, to wonder how a person could collect the price on Rudolph’s head. He said he asked law enforcement authorities and, “They tell me, ‘Just bring in his teeth.’”

Federal grand juries in both Atlanta and Birmingham indicted Rudolph on 23 counts on November 15, 2000. Regarding the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, the Atlanta grand jury indicted Rudolph for the malicious use of an explosive, use of a destructive device during a crime of violence, and interstate transportation of an explosive. He was also indicted for a phone call making a bomb threat just before the explosion. In the bombs planted at the Sandy Springs abortion clinic, Rudolph was indicted on two counts of malicious use of explosive, two counts of using a destructive device during a crime of violence and one count of interstate transportation of explosives. There were nine counts relating to the Otherside bombing, including two counts of malicious use of an explosive and two counts of using a destructive device in a crime of violence. He was also indicted on multiple counts of making bomb threats for the alleged “Army of God” letters.

The federal grand jury in Birmingham indicted him for using explosives in the attack on the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic.

Murder charges were not handed down by these grand juries because that crime must be charged in state courts. These charges can still be pursued in state courts as district attorneys and political officials in both Alabama and Georgia have sworn to pursue the bomber to the fullest extent of the law.

Where is Eric Robert Rudolph? Is he still alive? Officials do not know. Some people have speculated that he is long dead; others think he might have gotten out of North Carolina and is lying low, perhaps having radically altered his appearance. The FBI still believes that he is alive and hiding out in the wooded Nantahala region of North Carolina. “The Task Force isn't’t making any assumptions,” Crosby asserts, “so the case continues as if he’s alive because there’s no evidence to indicate he’s dead.” There’s also no evidence to suggest he has left North Carolina. “He’s quite familiar with that area,” Crosby observes, “and not familiar with other parts of the country.”

But he is still being sought and he remains among the top 10 fugitives on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Investigators continue to search the North Carolina woods and the FBI, ATF and other law enforcement agencies have vowed they will remain there “as long as necessary” to find Rudolph. The authorities also follow up leads placing him at other locations. “We have a task force that is still in place both in Atlanta and North Carolina,” Crosby says. “We have a handful of people working on it full-time. We work with hunters, hikers, local police sheriff’s departments, forest services and park services. We don’t talk about everything we’re doing. There are no mass searches now but we can have people there quite quickly.”

The victims of these explosions have not been forgotten and they will not be.

Emily Lyons showed great courage in the aftermath of the attack that left her disabled and in pain. Her support for legal abortion was undiminished and she publicly vowed to make a good life for herself despite her afflictions. At a press conference, seated in a wheelchair and with her husband Jeff Lyons standing by her side, she spoke directly to the bomber. “If your goal was to shut the clinic down or to shut me down,” she said in a confident voice, “it didn't’t work. It’s not going to work: the clinics will stay open, the workers will continue to come, the patients will continue to come.” She went on to say, “I want everyone to know that this person survives. I will not stay down.”

After enduring many operations, the still-handicapped Lyons recovered sufficiently to become a spokesperson for reproductive freedom. She has traveled widely, testified before a congressional committee, and been honored by Pro-Choice organizations.

The band that had been performing when the bomb went off at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, released a record honoring its victims. That record bore the title Arrhythmia.

At Centennial Olympic Park, the Quilt of Remembrance Plaza memorializes the bombing victims with a stylized eternal flame and a mosaic of stone from around the world. There is one stone for each victim.

Commentary By Bonnie M. Wells

It appears that those parts that are known about Rudolph do indeed fit my description of him. Of course we won't know what he's wearing until he is finally caught. Until then I will stand by my prediction.

Meanwhile, about all I can say is that I'm not the least bit surprised that "the wrong man" was named as a suspect in the beginning. I am surprised that they finally admitted they had made a mistake.

Spiritually speaking, I think there is a mighty message within the case ..... September 19th; Rudolph; wrong man; .... but I suppose most people would see this as "coincidence," .... if they saw it at all. It isn't, and neither is the fact that the killer is still at large!!!

 

Update

Clips From CNN.Com

Comments B.M.W.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Atlanta Olympic Bombing Suspect Arrested:

" (CNN) -- Olympic bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph -- wanted in attacks that killed two people and injured more than 100 in the Southeast -- was arrested early Saturday in western North Carolina and faces a Monday morning court date. "

"Rudolph has been charged in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia; 1997 bombings at a gay nightclub and a clinic that performed abortions in the Atlanta area; and a bombing at a clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1998."

"Saturday night, he was in the Cherokee County Jail, having eaten, slept, and talked to investigators, said Chris Swecker, the FBI special agent in charge. Officials said he will appear in court at 10 a.m. Monday in Asheville, North Carolina."

"Rudolph attended ninth grade at Nantahala School, and once wrote a paper arguing that the Holocaust was fictional. He later dropped out and was homeschooled."

"After receiving a general equivalency diploma, Rudolph attended Western Carolina University for two semesters before enlisting in the Army in August 1987."

"He served with the 101st Airborne Division in Kentucky but was discharged after a year and a half for smoking marijuana, investigators and his family said. Rudolph returned to western North Carolina, where he took up carpentry with his older brother, Daniel. He reportedly was an excellent craftsman."

BMW Comments

It appears I was about 99% accurate concerning Eric Rudolph. Actually, I may have been 100% accurate, but I can't find a photo of him at the time of his arrest, so I can't say for certain what he was wearing.

But, there's another part to this story that even I find amazing and intriguing.

In 1998 my husband, grandson and I took a vacation. We went to Cherokee, North Carolina. But we didn't stay in Cherokee. We stayed in a cabin in Asheville, North Carolina!

As I said, I am amazed that I not only told the FBI that Richard Jewell was NOT the right man, but actually described Rudolph almost to perfection, including the fact that he was a loner, an east coast drifter, brown hair, outdoor type, etc. and then, actually went to the very town where the man would eventually be tried for his crimes!

And to think that cops around here didn't believe me when I said "Jackie McCrady, whose wife disappeared on September 19th, and who was arrested for her murder in early October, was NOT the right man to be arrested. Guess they believed {and continue to believe} that other "psychic" Georgia Rudolph!

Well, I was once told that it "ain't over till the fat lady sings." Now, I have to figure out a way to make the fat lady sing! I figure if the price is right, she'll sing okay.

Meanwhile, here's just another example of some of my work, and how accurate it seems to be everywhere except right here. Now isn't that strange?

Oh, and by the way, I do not know, nor have I ever known Eric Rudolph nor any of his family, friends and/or acquaintances, so anyone who thinks I had "inside" information can just give that notion up right now.

I didn't have any "inside" information on the McCrady case either, but my predictions and warnings were issued well in advance of the murder, not after the fact. And yes, I can still prove who I gave the information to, and when.

 

 

Bonnie M. Wells

The Trials & Tribulations Of A Trooper [A]

Starlight Inner-Prizes

Posted: 9-26-05 / BMW ..... "For those who remember"

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