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'Clear my son's name'

Bombing suspect's mom steps forward

Barbara Jewell

August 26, 1996
Web posted at: 3:00 p.m. EDT

MARIETTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Denying that her son is Atlanta's Olympic Centennial Park bomber, Barbara Jewell broke down in tears Monday as she asked President Clinton to "clear my son's name." (288K AIFF or WAV sound)icon

"As the head of the Justice Department and the FBI, he has a moral duty to the citizens of this country," Jewell's mother said in a highly emotional statement read to reporters in suburban Atlanta. "Please hear me, Mr. President, and help me. You have the power to end this nightmare."

Mrs. Jewell describes the search of her home

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Richard Jewell, the only person named as a suspect in the July 27 bombing that left two people dead injured more than 100, has not been charged with any crime but has been under intense scrutiny by both federal investigators and the news media.

"Richard is not the Olympic Park bomber. Richard is not a murderer," Mrs. Jewell said, stopping occasionally as she read her statement in order to regain her composure.

"The media has descended on us like vultures on prey. They have taken all privacy from us. They have taken all peace," Mrs. Jewell said.

"I am not a quitter. Richard is not a quitter. We will not quit now, but we need help."

"My son has no real life. He is a prisoner in my home."
  -- Barbara Jewell


In an example of how she said their lives had been ruined, Mrs. Jewell said Richard decided against visiting a ill family friend because of the attention it would attract. Richard "was unable to see his friend before he died," she said.

Her voice choking, Mrs. Jewell said that after the friend's funeral her son was in tears, exclaiming: "Momma, everyone is looking at me." (256K AIFF or WAV sound)icon

Jewell, who moved into his mother's suburban Atlanta apartment a few weeks before the Summer Games began, worked as a security guard at Centennial Olympic Park. On the night of the bombing, he alerted authorities to a suspicious knapsack and was initially hailed as a hero.

'Prisoner in my home'

Later, law enforcement authorities leaked information to reporters that Jewell was a suspect in their investigation.

"My son has no real life. He is a prisoner in my home. He cannot work. He cannot know any kind of normal life. He can only sit and wait for this nightmare to end," Mrs. Jewell said in her statement.

She said the FBI had searched "every inch and every item" in her home, seizing items including underwear, Tupperware and videotapes of Walt Disney movies.

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