Rudolph Enters Plea

By: Jason Simpson
By: Jason Simpson

Bombing suspect Eric Rudolph pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Birmingham. He's accused of bombing a Birmingham abortion clinic in 1998, that killed an off-duty police officer and injured a nurse.

Rudolph, 36, told jailers he hid for five years in a mountainous region of western North Carolina and stayed alive by eating wild game, acorns and lizards.

One of the charges carries the possibility of the death penalty.

University of Mississippi political scientist and terrorism expert, Dr. Chester Quarles, said sympathizers near Rudolph's hometown of Andrews, North Carolina, share his beliefs and theologies.

"We need to understand that in his primary group, he's a hero. People will give him shelter, food, or a place to hide," said Dr. Chester Quarles.
"There's a lot of public displays of community support for Eric in his hometown."

And that support is how this man eluded the long arm of the law for over five years.

Quarles should know. He's been to Andrews and seen the support on bumper stickers and t-shirts. He also has a lot experience dealing with terrorism. The former law enforcement agent helps train foreign missionaries on how to deal with small terrorist groups that work similarly to the one of which Rudolph was an alleged member.

Quarles explained that the strength of those groups is not in numbers.

"The hidden cell, a very small group of terrorists who don't answer to a bureaucracy of terrorists, they learn a lot from the patterns of what law enforcement does," said Quarles.

Quarles added that those hidden or small groups are most likely to be completely successful.

Since Rudolph's alleged crimes are in Alabama and Georgia, he will be tried there. Quarles said penalties handed down by juries in those states will be much tougher than his sympathizers would like.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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