MIAMI, April 11 (UPI) -- Although there is only speculation on the reason Eric Rudolph will plead guilty to four bombings, the government's reason was his agreement to disclose the location of five stashes of dynamite.
Rudolph's reasons may never be known, or they could be disclosed as soon as Wednesday when he is expected to make his guilty pleas in Birmingham, Ala., in the morning and Atlanta later in the day. The Atlanta charges include the 1996 Olympic bombing, an abortion-clinic explosion and a bombing at a gay nightclub.
Rudolph might have recognized the strength of the case against him, especially in Birmingham where witnesses have placed him at the scene of the abortion-clinic bombing and where the remains of the bomb point to him.
He also could have been led away from the death penalty by his attorney, Judy Clarke, known to some as a one-woman dream team.
Clarke is well known for her opposition to the death penalty and her history of avoiding it for her clients.
Clarke's former clients include Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Susan Smith, who was convicted of killing her two children in South Carolina. In both cases, Clarke managed to get them life sentences instead of the death chamber.
Clarke is a federal public defender from the Pacific Northwest now based in San Diego. The Justice Department assigns her to sensitive cases throughout the nation.
The other members of the team, now known as the New York Yankees of legal defense, are Bill Bowen Jr. of Birmingham, a former criminal appeals-court judge; Michael Burt, another death penalty specialist; and Nancy Pemberton.
The team had already filed many motions in the case, challenging the prosecution's every move.
But the prosecution, headed by Alabama U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, had a strong case that would have been difficult to overcome. Rudolph was seen leaving the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic at the time of the bombing.
It was not yet determined whether the evidence from the bomb would be admitted at trial, but if it got in, it was expected to be powerful.
The tradeoff for the prosecution in the case, however, was important.
Rudolph had left 250 pounds of dynamite in five locations in the North Carolina mountains where he had been hiding for five years before his capture in 2003.
Rudolph provided directions to the explosives and federal agents found them. They were hidden in tree stumps or buried in the woods. Three of them were found in populated areas and one near a National Guard Armory, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Kent Alexander, U.S. attorney in Atlanta at the time of the bombings, called the case "a complete win for the Justice Department" as a result of the discoveries.
There are some fears in and around Murphy, N.C., where Rudolph was captured, that he also will tell federal agents the names of some of the people who may have helped him, but so far there is no evidence of that.
There was some disappointment at the announcement of a plea bargain. Nurse Emily Lyons, who this week will undergo surgery for the 20th time for injuries inflicted by the Birmingham bomb Jan. 29, 1998, said she thought it was the right decision. But she would have preferred execution.
"He killed two people. He injured 150-plus people, plus what he did to me. He deserves the death penalty," she told reporters gathered on her front lawn Friday.
John Hawthorne, who lost his wife, Alice, in the Olympic bombing July 27, 1996, said he was OK with the plea bargain because finding the dynamite in the woods might have saved some other lives.
William Rathburn, who was in charge of security for the Olympics, said he was disappointed in a way by the deal but conceded it brought some needed closure.
That will come Wednesday with the pleas, and at sentencing, which will be set for later.
That's a quick end to a proceeding that was expected to drag on for months and maybe years.
The jury selection began last Wednesday when 500 prospective jurors gathered in a hotel ballroom to fill out questionnaires. The ballroom was used because there wasn't enough room in the federal courthouse.
Once a jury was selected, opening arguments and testimony were expected to begin in late May or early June. Prosecutors and defense lawyers have indicated in court documents they expect the trial to last four months. After that would come mandatory appeals if he was convicted.
The 1996 bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta that killed Alice Hawthorne also wounded 111 others. It also caused the death of cameraman Melih Uzunyol who died of a heart attack while rushing to cover the story.
The FBI eventually had to apologize to Richard Jewell, a security guard who first was hailed as a hero in the Olympic bombing and then was named as a suspect.
Five people were injured in the bombing of the Otherside Lounge, a gay and lesbian club, Feb. 21, 1997. There were no injuries from an explosion he allegedly set at an abortion clinic in Atlanta, Jan. 16, 1997.
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