20th Anniversary: 1996 Olympic bomb blast

20th Anniversary: 1996 Olympic bomb blast
The Olympic flame at Centennial Olympic Park (WALB image)
The Olympic flame at Centennial Olympic Park (WALB image)
The concert stage of the park, near the time of the explosion (NBC image)
The concert stage of the park, near the time of the explosion (NBC image)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - On a hot Georgia night 20 years ago, about 1:30 in the morning, music and celebrations in the Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta were shattered by the detonation of a pipe bomb planted in a back pack.

The bomb was packed with nails, and 44-year-old Alice Hawthorne of Albany was struck in the head, and killed by them. The blast injured 111 other people, and a photographer running to the scene had a fatal heart attack.

Alice Hawthorne grew up in Albany, and graduated from ASU in 1994. She and her daughter, then 14-year-old Fallon Stubbs, were attending a concert during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta when she was killed.

Her widower, John Hawthorne, filed a suit in 2003 claiming that Olympic organizers are partially responsible for damages from the bombing. He claimed the park failed to evacuate the area when it got a report there was a bomb 22 minutes before it exploded.

Security guard Richard Jewel raised the alarm, and saved lives by getting many people away from the area. He was initially hailed as a hero, but then became a suspect in many eyes when NBC News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a flood of stories calling him a 'person of interest' in the investigation.

Jewel sued and collected a settlement, but died a few years later of diabetic complications.

Bombing suspect Eric Rudolph was arrested five years later in Murphy, North Carolina.

He pled guilty to multiple bombing charges, and is serving four consecutive life terms at a federal supermax prison in the Midwest.

Here is previous WALB coverage on the bombing, Alice Hawthorne, and related events--

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