Associate Press, June 26, 2003
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A grand jury re-indicted Eric Rudolph in a deadly abortion clinic bombing in Alabama, issuing a new capital charge to comply with a court ruling issued during the five years he was a fugitive.
The two-count indictment, announced Thursday, replaced one issued in November 2000 and spelled out the aggravating circumstances prosecutors could use to seek the death penalty.
A statement by prosecutors said the new indictment was to comply with a decision last year in which the Supreme Court said judges could not determine aggravating circumstances on their own.
“Otherwise, the charges remain the same as in the original indictment,” U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said in a statement.
One count carrying a possible death penalty accuses Rudolph of using an explosive to damage property involved in interstate commerce – the abortion clinic. The second count accuses him of using a bomb during a crime.
Rudolph’s attorneys had no immediate comment.
The government has not said whether it will seek the death penalty against Rudolph, but prosecutors could have used the original indictment if they did not plan to seek a capital sentence.
Rudolph, 38, was captured in Murphy on May 31 after a five- year manhunt. He was accused of detonating a bomb outside a Birmingham abortion clinic in 1998, killing a police officer and critically injuring a nurse.
Rudolph also is accused in the Olympic park bombing in Atlanta in 1996, in which a woman was killed, and a pair of bombings in Atlanta in 1997.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has said Rudolph will stand trial first in Birmingham, then Atlanta.