Copyright 1990 The San Diego Union-Tribune
The San Diego Union-Tribune
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November 8, 1990, Thursday
SECTION: NEWS; Ed. 1,2,3,4,5; Pg. A-12
LENGTH: 385 words
HEADLINE: South is relieved by
Civil-rights leaders are breathing easier with theyesterday of a Georgia man in a series of mail bombings that killed a federal judge and an NAACP lawyer and put the South on edge just before Christmas last year.
The indictment also accuses Walter Leroy Moody Jr., a 56-year-old self-employed editor, of sending racist and threatening letters.
He is to be arraigned in federal court today.
The bombings and threats spread a wave of pre-Christmas terror that had lawyers, judges and civil-rights officials contacting authorities when they received unexpected packages.
"We are relieved that federal authorities believe that a suspected perpetrator has been identified, and cautious that no other persons are or may be implicated," said Earl Shinhoster, Southeast director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
He said the bombings "created a climate of uneasy apprehension for many of us in the civil-rights community that will not be easily abated even with the indictments."
Moody, for months a leading suspect in the case, was charged in the killing of appeals Judge Robert Vance of Mountainbrook, Ala., on Dec. 16, 1989, and the slaying of civil-rights lawyer Robert Robinson of Savannah, Ga., two days later.
The nail-packed bombs bore marked similarities to one that Moody was convicted of possessing in 1972, federal authorities said. They said all three bombs were built by a method not used in any of more than 10,000 bombs they had examined over the years.
The indictment also accuses Moody of sending bombs to the 11th U.S. Circuit courthouse in Atlanta -- Vance was a member of the 11th Circuit -- and to the NAACP in Jacksonville, Fla. Those two bombs were safely defused.
In addition, Moody was charged with sending dozens of threatening letters to NAACP officials, lawyers, judges and TV stations, and with sending a tear-gas Bomb that went off at the NAACP's Atlanta office.
U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh and FBI Director William Sessions, who announced the indictment in Washington, said authorities believe Moody acted alone. been speculated that racism or revenge against the judicial system prompted the attacks. Moody is white, as was Vance. Robinson, a Savannah city alderman who did legal work for the NAACP, was black.