VanPac News History

Copyright 1991 The Atlanta Constitution  
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

April 17, 1991


LENGTH: 373 words

HEADLINE: New bribery trial sought for Moody; Procedure on insanity plea cited

BYLINE: By Jingle Davis Staff writer


SAVANNAH - The attorney for accused mail bomber Walter Leroy Moody Jr. told a federal judge today that his client should be granted a new trial in an unrelated case.

Athens attorney Edward Tolley said the jury that convicted his client should have been instructed on an insanity defense even though Moody rejected that legal strategy.

U.S. District Judge Anthony A. Alaimo, who presided at the trial and at today's hearing, said he will rule on Mr. Tolley's motion in a few days.

Moody, 56, looked thinner today than he did in December at his trial in Brunswick when he was convicted of obstructing justice, bribery and witness tampering.

The former Rex resident, who served time in prison for setting a Bomb in 1972 that injured his then-wife, Hazel, spent almost two decades trying to exonerate himself.

Government prosecutors claim it was Moody's hatred of the court system that led him to mail nail-packed pipe bombs that killed U.S. District Judge Robert Vance and Savannah attorney Robert Robinson in late 1989. Moody is scheduled for trial later this year on those charges in St. Paul, Minn.

Testimony at his Brunswick trial indicated Moody sought to clear his conviction in the 1972 case by concocting an alibi and bribing witnesses to testify that another man was responsible for injuring Hazel Moody.

Mr. Tolley laid the groundwork for an insanity defense, calling experts who testified to Moody's mental problems, but just before the case went to the jury, Moody ignored Mr. Tolley's advice and withdrew his insanity plea.

He said he feared being incarcerated for an indefinite period. Defendants found guilty but mentally ill are institutionalized until they are deemed well enough for release.

Moody was convicted of obstructing justice, bribery and witness tampering.

At the hearing, Judge Alaimo said Moody's behavior at the trial indicated he was aware of the risks of rejecting the insanity defense.

Mr. Tolley argued today that the judge should have held a hearing to determine Moody's competency.

"Since he was not taking my advice and was in essence doing his own lawyering, the judge should have gone further and discussed it with him," Mr. Tolley said after the hearing.