Small man Eric Rudolph, who caused big tragedy, apologies for Olympics bombing

Nearly nine years after setting off the bomb that disrupted the 1996 Summer Olympics, Eric Rudolph was sentenced to four life terms in prison Monday at a hearing in which victims described him as a cowardly terrorist. The criminal apologized for the Olympics bombing, wishing to return the day of the tragedy and prevent it.

Rudolph, 38, clean-shaven and gaunt, apologized for the Olympics bombing, saying he "would do anything to take that night back."

"Like other small men who act as you have acted, you have a Napoleonic complex and need to compensate for what you lack," said John Hawthorne, of Sarasota, whose wife died in the Olympics bombing. "Little person, big bomb. But you are still a small man."

The sentence brings a close to a case that began with the Olympics bombing and included an exhaustive five-year manhunt for Rudolph, who was captured in North Carolina scavenging for food from a trash container, according to Bradenton Herald.

He pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced last month to life for the 1998 bombing of a women's clinic in Alabama that killed a police officer and maimed a nurse. Monday's hearing covered the Olympics blast, a bombing at a gay nightclub in Atlanta and another at an abortion clinic in the city in 1997. One woman was killed and more than 100 people were injured by the Olympics bomb.

He had faced a possible death sentence, but reached a plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for him revealing the location of more than 250 pounds of stolen dynamite he had buried in North Carolina, Bradenton Herald informs.

In court Monday, 14 victims and relatives told of the horror he caused and their wishes that he suffer for the rest of his days. Many other victims decided not to attend, saying they have moved on with their lives and didn't want to give Rudolph any more time.

As noted some days earlier, a former soldier with extreme views on abortion and homosexuality, Rudolph has said he staged his attacks because of his anger at the US federal government.

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