VanPac News History

Copyright 1991 The New York Times Company  
The New York Times

 View Related Topics 

June 23, 1991, Sunday, Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section 1; Part 1; Page 15; Column 1; National Desk

LENGTH: 541 words

HEADLINE: Man Accused of Mail-Bomb Killings Blames Klan




The man charged with killing a Federal judge in Alabama and a civil rights lawyer in Georgia has testified that the Ku Klux Klan made and mailed the package bombs that killed the two men a year and a half ago.

In his third day of testifying against the advice of his lawyers, the 57-year-old defendant, Walter Leroy Moody Jr. of Rex, Ga., said Friday that the bombings were the Klan's revenge against the Federal court system for its handling of a lawsuit stemming from a 1987 civil rights march in Cumming, Ga.

The suit, filed by 49 blacks injured by white hecklers who had lined the route of the march, resulted in October 1988 in a jury's $950,000 judgment against the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and another white supremacist organization, the Georgia Realm of the Invisible Empire. The verdict was upheld by a Federal appeals court.

In his testimony, Mr. Moody said he learned of the Klan's involvement in the bombings during meetings he had in January and February 1990, only weeks after the killings, with Michael Ford, a lawyer who represented him in an appeal of a 1972 conviction for Bomb possession.

Mr. Moody said that at the meetings Mr. Ford claimed to know the identity of the person within the Klan who had mailed the bombs but that he refused to disclose it. "You don't want to know," Mr. Moody quoted Mr. Ford as saying. "He's affiliated with the Klan."
Rambling Testimony

Mr. Moody also quoted Mr. Ford as saying that "items" that Mr. Moody had sent to Mr. Ford had later ended up in one of the bombs. According to Mr. Moody, Mr. Ford told him, "I may be involved, and you may be, too."

Mr. Moody's testimony was often rambling, and it was unclear whether the "items" were ingredients used in the Bomb or whether they were perhaps just written material. But later in his testimony, Mr. Moody said Mr. Ford had taken credit for providing the powder for both bombs.

Reached in Georgia, Dave Holland, director of the White Knights of dhe Ku Klux Klan, denied that his organization was responsible for the bombings.

"The F.B.I. has spent a fortune investigating this case," Mr. Holland said. "They've got their man."

In Atlanta, Mr. Ford refused to comment on Mr. Moody's testimony. So did Mr. Moody's lawyer, Edward Tolley.

Mr. Ford made no mention of the Ku Klux Klan when he testified against Mr. Moody earlier in the trial, telling mainly about lies that Mr. Moody and his former wife told in court in a failed attempt to overturn the 1972 Bomb-possession conviction.

Mr. Moody is on trial in the deaths of Judge Robert Vance of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, who was killed at his home in Mountain Brook, Ala., and of Robert E. Robinson, a lawyer in Savannah, Ga.

He is also accused of mailing a Bomb to the Federal courthouse in Atlanta, mailing a Bomb to the Jacksonville, Fla., offices of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and mailing a tear-gas Bomb that exploded at the N.A.A.C.P.'s Atlanta office.

The Government contends that Mr. Moody, who years ago attended law classes at night in Atlanta, wanted to undermine the court system because his 1972 conviction had kept him from obtaining a license to practice law.