Anti-Choice Terrorist Eric Rudolph Regrets Nothing, Appeals Life Sentence Anyway
In the late 1990s, Eric Rudolph bombed several abortion clinics, a lesbian bar, and the Atlanta Olympics — yes the one with hero security guard turned suspect Richard Jewell, who did not do it, Eric Rudolph did. Rudolph then hid out in the mountains for five years; in 2005, he pleaded guilty to the bombings and got life without the possibility of parole in order to avoid the death penalty. Now, however, he would like to get out of prison, please and thank you, because he says his bombings — which killed three people and injured over 150 others — are no longer "acts of violence."
Then what were they? Toaster ovens?
In an 11-page handwritten appeal, the 53-year-old serial bomber claims that last year's Supreme Court decision in United States v. Davis — which held that a residual clause in 18 U. S. C. §924(c)(3)(B) describing an "act of violence" was too vague — should allow him to qualify for a resentencing.
(a) an offense that has an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another
(b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.
This means that you can't charge someone with an act of violence if there was only a risk that physical force might be taken, because that is just far too vague of a thing to determine. In Rudolph's case, however, there literally was an act of violence. Several acts of violence. In which three people were killed and over 150 were injured. Additionally, a judge did not use 18 U. S. C. §924(c)(3)(B) to sentence him, he pleaded guilty to things that he did in order to avoid the death penalty.
Rudolph says that he deserves a re-sentencing, because the four consecutive life sentences he received were "in excess of the maximum authorized by law or was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States."
There is nothing in his appeal about being sorry for what he did or not wanting to do something like that ever again, which is not terrifically surprising. In his initial confession, Rudolph claimed that his actions were just because he was protecting the fetuses, protecting the world from "the gay agenda," and, in the case of the Centennial Park bombing, protecting the world from "the values of global socialism, as perfectly expressed in the song 'Imagine' by John Lennon, which was the theme of the 1996 games."
He has also long maintained a relationship with the anti-abortion extremist group Army of God, which regularly publishes his writings on its website. As recently as 2018, Rudolph wrote a 47-page manifesto, published there, on why "armed resistance to abortion" is morally justified, claiming that it's the same thing as killing people in war, and suggesting that those who oppose abortion and do not go around killing people because of it are the ones who are immoral.
It seems unlikely that this will work out for him.
Read Rudolph's appeal below, if you can manage to read his handwriting ...
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse