Times Publishing Company
St. Petersburg Times
December 22, 1989, Friday, City Edition
SECTION: NATIONAL; Pg. 6A
LENGTH: 593 words
HEADLINE: Officials check letters sent to Bomb targets
SOURCE: Baltimore Sun
DATELINE: BIRMINGHAM, Ala.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Investigators are examining letters sent recently to some of the targets of mailed bombs this week to determine if they come from the sender of the bombs.
Allen Whitaker, the FBI agent in charge here, said at a news conference Thursday that some of the letters received since the bombings could be interpreted as claims of responsibility.
Four mailed bombs were received in three states between Saturday and Tuesday. Two exploded, killing a federal judge in Birmingham and a lawyer in Savannah, Ga. "There have been followup letters sent since the receipt of the Bomb parcels," U.S. Postal Inspector Leo Shatzel confirmed in Atlanta. "It appears these letters may have been sent by the individual who mailed the parcels."
Investigators would not divulge details of the letters, who received them or what they said. Whitaker said "there are numerous communications, written and telephonic, that are being evaluated."
Shatzel described the letters as "threatening."
The FBI offices in Birmingham, Jacksonville and Atlanta have set up local telephone lines seeking tips from the public that might help their investigation. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has also set up a tip line in Atlanta.
The establishment of the phone lines suggested that investigators still are searching for a breakthrough in the inquiry. Whitaker said an informed tip might provide a shortcut to the task of sifting through the "enormous amount of information that we have to evaluate, manage and act upon."
Investigators are concentrating on finding links between the apparent targets in the bombings, all of whom had at least some involvement in civil rights issues.
The first Bomb exploded Saturday in the home of U.S. 11th Circuit Judge Robert Vance, killing the 58-year-old jurist and seriously injuring his wife. Robert Robinson, 42, a Savannah alderman and lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was killed Monday when he opened a package at his office.
A Bomb mailed to the federal appeals court in Atlanta was detected and disarmed Monday. Another, addressed to the NAACP legal staff in Jacksonville, was disarmed Tuesday.
FBI agents have interviewed lawyers associated with cases that had been before the federal appeals court. They also have identified four desegregation cases that went before the court. Vance was part of a ruling panel in a case involving desegregation issues in Jacksonville.
Robinson was involved in another case, involving desegregation efforts in Savannah.
Investigators also are looking at a case in which black plaintiffs are to be awarded $ 3.75-million for their claims of employment discrimination at Warner Robins Air Force Base.
At least one of the Bomb packages bore a return address of Warner Robins, a small community 10 miles south of Macon, Ga. The FBI has said that none of the people identified in the return addresses is involved in the crimes. They also have concluded that at least three, and perhaps all, of the Bomb parcels were mailed in central Georgia.
The proximity of the mailings has suggested the crimes may be the work of one person, and not an organized group.