Feds Name Clinic Bombing Suspect

Federal authorities issued an arrest warrant Saturday for a North Carolina man who had been sought as a material witness in the first fatal bombing of a U.S. abortion clinic.

U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, announcing the change in status for Eric Robert Rudolph, said the charge is for maliciously damaging a property by an explosive device that resulted in a death, an offense that could result in life in prison or death.

Rudolph, 31, is being sought for the January 29 explosion at the New Woman All Women Clinic in Birmingham. The explosion killed an off-duty police officer working as a security guard and critically injured a nurse. Rudolph's truck was seen near the clinic following the blast.

Jones declined to speculate on whether the bomb was the work of more than one person, and he declined to disclose the ingredients used in the bomb.

In Murphy, N.C., Mandy Hancock, assistant manager of a Burger King, said Friday she and two co-workers were on duty when Rudolph came in the night of Jan. 30. Hancock said she doesn't remember him, but her co-workers recognized him from photos shown to her by the FBI.

"They saw him around 11 o'clock, right before closing," said Hancock, 23. "All that they said was that he looked real rough, kind of dirty-looking."

She said her co-workers told her Rudolph complained that he didn't get enough French fries, so they "really loaded him up on fries."

Raccoon hunters found Rudolph's 1989 gray Nissan pickup truck last weekend in this remote, mountainous region of North Carolina. The truck cab contained receipts from Burger King and two supermarkets.

Bomb-sniffing dogs detected possible explosives residue inside the truck and in a storage facility that Rudolph is believed to have used in western North Carolina.

Rudolph's last known address is a trailer in Murphy, about a four-hour drive from Birmingham.

At least two media outlets in Atlanta have received letters claiming the bombing was carried out by a group called the Army of God, which also took responsibility for the 1997 bombings of an abortion clinic and gay bar in Atlanta.

Written by Jessicia Saunders ©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed