- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2005

MURPHY, N.C. (AP) — Kenny Jane Wade understands the anti-government sentiment that may have led some people here to help feed and shelter serial bomber Eric Rudolph during his years on the lam.

Miss Wade, who owns a cabin near where some of Rudolph’s stash of explosives recently were found, said the mistrust has been part of mountain culture since the days of the so-called revenuers — federal agents who arrested people for making moonshine during Prohibition.

“My grandfather owned a store,” said Miss Wade, a 58-year-old retiree. “He knew people that ran moonshine and he wouldn’t turn them in because he knew their families would starve.”

Although no one has admitted assisting Rudolph during his five years on the run in the Appalachian wilderness, investigators suspect that he had help. Some in Murphy are wondering whether there will be additional prosecutions now that Rudolph is talking to authorities as part of a plea deal to spare his life.

Rudolph became an almost mythic figure during his years of evading police, and many in the region mocked the government’s inability to root him out. Two country songs were written about Rudolph, and a top-selling T-shirt bore the words: “Run Rudolph Run.”

When he was captured scavenging for food behind a Save-A-Lot food store in Murphy, authorities said he was healthier and better-groomed than they would have expected of a man surviving in the woods.

Rudolph is scheduled to enter a guilty plea Wednesday to carrying out the deadly bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and three other blasts in which two persons were killed and more than 120 injured. The plea deal calls for four consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

People around town said they’ve heard others say they don’t think Rudolph did anything wrong. Miss Wade said she never sympathized with Rudolph, but added, “I understand why a lot of people would help him or sympathize with him.”

So does Mary Jo Dockery, a 65-year-old retiree.

“If he would have come here, I’d have fed him,” she said. “What would you do if Jesus came to your door, would you feed him? What he has done, God will forgive you for this.”

Glenn Crowe, who lives in a home overlooking the rugged mountain road near where agents detonated some of Rudolph’s explosives Thursday, said he has no sympathy for someone who takes innocent lives.

“Assuming he’s guilty, anyone assisting a fugitive is certainly breaking the law,” said Mr. Crowe, 61.

As part of his plea deal, Rudolph provided authorities with the location of more than 250 pounds of dynamite that he stashed in the woods, but authorities have not disclosed what else Rudolph has told them — including whether he’ll name names.

“As of yet, from talking with various people, he has not answered those questions,” said Mark Thigpen, the police chief in Murphy. “Obviously, I have those same questions, and I’m hopeful he will answer those.”

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