HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Prosecutors on Friday unveiled their model of the remote-control bomb they say Eric Rudolph (search) used to attack an Alabama abortion clinic in 1998 — a Wal-Mart toolbox disguised with fake greenery and packed with dynamite and nails.
A government expert in Rudolph's federal death penalty case, Lloyd Erwin of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (search), testified that he found the toolbox by chance during a visit to a Wal-Mart in Rudolph's hometown of Murphy, N.C.
The green box had little squares on the top, just like fragments found outside the clinic after a bomb killed a policeman and critically wounded a nurse, Erwin said. "A light went off. I said, 'That's my container,'" Erwin testified.
With Rudolph's trial set to begin next week, U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith Jr. is holding a hearing on defense requests to bar certain scientific evidence, including the mock bomb and test results that found traces of explosives on items taken from Rudolph's trailer.
Defense attorney Nancy Pemberton has said the bomb replica is based on flimsy conclusions and contains materials, such as wires, that do not exactly match those found at the scene.
"It's kind of erroneous, isn't it? It's not good," Erwin said about the wires.
The hearing will resume later this month. Preliminary jury selection is scheduled to begin Wednesday.
Rudolph, who was captured in North Carolina in 2003 after five years on the run, is charged in the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympics (search) that killed one person, and two bomb attacks in the Atlanta area in 1997.
The bomb model contained more than five pounds of nails, sawdust to simulate dynamite, a remote receiver typically used in model airplanes, a timer, a plastic bowl and three D batteries.
Erwin said the homemade detonator found in the bomb remnants was similar to one described in a book Rudolph had bought.