At age 29, Eric Rudolph was the perpetrator of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, which occurred on July 27, 1996, during the 1996 Summer Olympics. He called the police, warning about the bomb before it detonated. The blast killed spectator Alice Hawthorne and wounded 111 others.
Law enforcement officials implement one of the largest manhunts in US history in their search for bomber Eric Rudolph. Host WRAL News anchor Jim Payne and the WRAL Documentary unit travel to western NC for a look inside the investigation, the impact of the search on the local community and the various fringe groups that might sympathize with the fugitive. “Into These Hills” originally aired April 24, 1999
Rudolph was arrested in Murphy, North Carolina, on May 31, 2003, by rookie police officer Jeffrey Scott Postell of the Murphy Police Department behind a Save-A-Lot store. Rudolph was unarmed and did not resist arrest. Federal authorities charged him on October 14, 2003.
On April 8, 2005, the Department of Justice announced that Rudolph had agreed to a plea bargain under which he would plead guilty to all charges he was accused of in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. The deal was confirmed after the FBI found 250 pounds (110 kg) of dynamite he hid in the forests of North Carolina.
Rudolph released a statement in which he explained his actions and rationalized them as serving the cause of anti-abortion and anti-gay activism. The terms of the plea agreement were that Rudolph would be sentenced to four consecutive life terms. He was officially sentenced July 18, 2005, to two consecutive life terms without parole for the 1998 murder of a police officer. He was sentenced for his various bombings in Atlanta on August 22, 2005, receiving two consecutive life terms.
Producer/Writer: Scott Mason
Photographer/Editor: Jay Jennings
Aired: April 24, 1999