Richard Jewell, the hero who saved many lives at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 only to become a suspect in the bombing, has died at age 44, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
Jewell was initially lauded as a hero after a bomb went off on July 27, 1996, during an Olympic celebration in Atlanta. He called attention to the suspicious knapsack that held a bomb and helped evacuate the area.
Days later, he became the FBI’s chief suspect, as The Atlanta Journal Constitution and other media outlets reported. The FBI cleared Jewell of any wrongdoing. He was never charged with a crime.
Eric Robert Rudolph pleaded guilty to the bombing in 2005 and is serving life in prison for it and other attacks.
After he was cleared, Jewell sued the AJC and other media outlets for libel, arguing that their reports defamed him. Several news organizations settled, including NBC and CNN.
The Journal-Constitution did not settle.
Read it all at the link above. Ironic that his death is reported by AJC, the newspaper which became one of his main tormentors during the days and weeks following the bombing. His case became the classic example of a media feeding frenzy which destroyed an innocent man.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Jewell. My thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.