Court upholds life sentences for Atlanta Olympics, abortion clinic, lesbian bar bomber

In this April 13, 2005, file photo, convicted bomber Eric Rudolph, left, is led to a waiting police car by U.S. Marshals as he leaves the Jefferson County Jail for a hearing in Birmingham, Ala. Rudolph, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty in the fatal bombing of an Alabama abortion clinic and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is arguing he deserves a new sentencing hearing or a chance to withdraw his plea. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

A man sentenced to life imprisonment for fatal bombings at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and an Alabama abortion clinic will not get a chance at a new sentence, an appeals court ruled Monday.

A three-judge of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that Eric Robert Rudolph remains bound to the terms of his 2005 plea agreement in which he accepted multiple life sentences to escape the death penalty.

“Eric Rudolph is bound by the terms of his own bargain. He negotiated to spare his life, and in return he waived the right to collaterally attack his sentences in any post-conviction proceedings,” Judge Britt Grant wrote in the opinion.

Rudolph admitted to carrying out the deadly bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and three other attacks in Georgia and Alabama. He pleaded guilty to multiple counts of arson and of using a destructive device during a crime of violence.

Rudolph argued he was due a new sentence after a 2019 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in which justices found that a statute providing enhanced penalties for using a firearm or deadly device during a “crime of violence” was unconstitutionally vague. The 11th Circuit rejected his claim.

The bombing during a musical show at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta on July 27, 1996, killed one person and injured dozens. The bombing at the New Woman All Women in Birmingham on Jan. 29, 1998, killed a Birmingham police officer and seriously wounded a clinic nurse.

Rudolph also set bombs outside a Sandy Springs abortion clinic and a lesbian bar in Midtown Atlanta called The Otherside Lounge in 1997.

WABE News contributed to this report.