Wife of Murdered Police Officer Robert ‘Sande’ Sanderson Discusses How Her Life Changed After Her Husband’s Death in Birmingham Clinic Bombing
When police officer Robert "Sande" Sanderson was felled by a terrorist's bomb in front of the Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic where he moonlighted as a security guard, an entire family was permanently scarred.
Felecia Sanderson, 36, and her two sons, aged 15 and 16, have endured much in the last six months, not the least of which has been a number of expressions of support for accused bomber Eric Robert Rudolph.
The Intelligence Report asked Mrs. Sanderson, whose father and grandfather were police officers, about her life in the last six months, her feelings toward Rudolph, for whose capture there is a $1 million reward, and her relationship with Emily Lyons, the nurse maimed in the attack.
FELECIA SANDERSON: Sometimes, it feels like it's been a million years. It's hell on earth that I am living. I miss every little thing about him. I think about him all the time. Sande is what was meant for me.
Sande worked the 11 [P.M.] to 7 [A.M.] shift, so I was used to him coming home in the morning. We'd walk the dogs, and sometimes he'd be hungry and I'd fix him some breakfast. I was used to ironing his uniform and polishing his badge and name tag. I find myself looking at the clock and thinking that he should be on his way home right now. His birthday was real tough.
IR: How have your sons been through this ordeal?
SANDERSON: They are my children from previous marriages, but they loved him. My oldest son, whose father died in a car accident when he was seven months old, said, "I lost my father when I was a baby and never got to know him, and now some sick, twisted," excuse me, but he said, "son of a bitch murdered my daddy." He lost the only man he had.
My younger son's father, my ex-husband, was a buddy of Sande's. He cried like a baby at Sande's funeral. I don't know anybody that didn't like Sande.
IR: How have your feelings about abortion played into this?
SANDERSON: I don't believe in abortions, but that is a person's choice. I'm not going to kill someone because of that.
Rudolph killed Sande in the name of Christianity. Where does it say in the Bible that you have the right to murder someone because you don't agree with them?
Eric Rudolph tried to hide behind religion. He's a sick, twisted, million-dollar piece of garbage. I want him captured. I don't want any more blood shed, not even his.
Sande didn't believe in abortion, but Sande believed in the law, that all people should be protected under the law equally. Well, he's in a lot better place than this sick, crazy world.
IR: You became friends with Emily Lyons despite your differing views on abortion. What is your friendship like?
SANDERSON: It's very hard for me to see Emily. I want so much to give her her life back. I want Sande back. She's a kind, sweet person. She has to live every day with what Eric Rudolph did to her. I have to live every day without Sande.
Our lives are forever changed. That's something we have in common. We may have different views on certain issues; we agree to disagree. It doesn't change the way I feel about her.
It's hard for me. I can't turn back the clock and never let Jan. 29 happen. I want to make her whole again and I can't.
IR: Is there a lesson in this tragedy?
SANDERSON: Nobody has the right to take another human being's life. That's God's job. I don't want to judge anybody, and I don't want to be judged. That's for God to do.
He can have that job all to himself. I don't want that job.