Olympic Park Bombing family reacts to Rudolph plea - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Olympic Park Bombing family reacts to Rudolph plea

Albany- Eric Rudolph confessed, an effort to spare his own life, but other lives may also have been saved and to the victims, that's what matters.

"I was told today that they had in fact found all the devices. That he had told them where they were and saw that once all of those devices were found and destroyed, then they accepted the plea agreement," said John Hawthorne, who lost his wife, Alice in the 1996 Olympic Park bombing.

Hawthorne says, agreeing to the plea bargain was the right decision.

"If taking the death penalty off the table would keep anyone else from getting killed or injured, then you know, I'm okay with that," said Hawthorne.

It will also spare the family from reliving Alice's death.

"All along I was hoping that there wouldn't have to be a trial. That we wouldn't have to go through all of that over and over again," said Hawthorne.

He says, a trial would have meant more details.

"Just going through that kind of graphic detail because there is some information and some video footage that you all have probably never seen," said Hawthorne. John plans on being at the plea hearings next Wednesday.

"I would like to look him in the eye and I would like to ask him the question, why, but I won't be able to do that," said Hawthorne.

In the end, John feels the punishment is just.

"If he lives to be 80 or 90 years old and he's got 40 or 50 years to think about what he's done and know that he would never ever be free, then that can be a major punishment in and of itself," said Hawthorne.

After the plea hearing next week it still won't be over for Alice's family. They've filed a civil case against Rudolph and will still follow through with the case. A trial date for that case has not yet been scheduled.

posted by jennifer.emert@walb.com