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Emily Lyons: 'Why that day, that place?'

Lyons was permanently disabled in the 1998 Birmingham bombing.
Lyons was permanently disabled in the 1998 Birmingham bombing.

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(CNN) -- Emily Lyons was a nurse at the women's clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, the day a bomb exploded, injuring her and killing police officer Robert Sanderson. She talked to CNN about the bomb and the possible arrest of the prime suspect, Eric Robert Rudolph.

CNN: Could you tell us what happened to you?

Lyons: It was January 29 of '98 and when I went to work that morning at the women's clinic in Birmingham, a pipe bomb exploded outside the clinic. It killed Officer Sanderson. It disabled me for the rest of my life.

CNN: You have been so outspoken since then, such a force for women's reproductive rights. I mean, how did that incident change your life?

Lyons: It really made me outspoken because I was a real quiet person. I don't know why it did that, but it was like a consequence of the bomb that day. It flipped a switch in my mind and things just had to be told.

CNN: Did you ever think that this man was dead?

Lyons: No, never.

CNN: Why?

Lyons: I don't know. It's just one of those things. He had support and we know that other groups and other people like him have had so much support in the country. I just didn't think he was dead. And I've said all along, I thought he was still in North Carolina. Even when everybody else is saying, no, no, he's not there, he's gone, he's out of the country.

CNN: Emily, you knew Officer Sanderson, the man who was killed in the blast that injured you so severely. Tell us about him.

Lyons: He was a good police officer. He came to work. He did his job. He knew what he was there for, even if he didn't agree with it. He knew that it was his duty to provide security for us.

CNN: You must think of him often?

Lyons: Yes. It's not something you forget about. It's always with you, every day. You have to think about it

CNN: I hope this isn't an unfair question, but do you hate Eric Robert Rudolph?

Lyons: No. I hate what he did to me and what he did to Sandy. But I don't know him. So I can't equate that emotion to him.

CNN: What do you think motivated this man? Do you really believe it was ideological or something pathological?

Lyons: I'd have to go -- well, a little of each, I think.

CNN: Do you dream of seeing Eric Rudolph in court?

Lyons: Yes. I mean, that's the ultimate goal, to see him in court. Possibly to talk to him, and to see the final justice done.

CNN: It's interesting you say you would like to talk to him. What would you like to say to him?

Lyons: Why? Why was it that you picked that day, that place, for what purpose? Why did you do the Olympics? Why did you do the others in Atlanta? What were you trying to tell everybody that day? And if it was important enough to do that, then it's important enough to tell everybody.

CNN: Is any kind of jail time sufficient for what has happened to you?

Lyons: Not in my mind, there's not. It's either he stays in prison for the rest of his life or the death penalty, either one.


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