Copyright 1989 The San Diego Union-Tribune
The San Diego Union-Tribune
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December 22, 1989, Friday
SECTION: BUSINESS; Ed. 1,2,3,4,5; Pg. A-31
LENGTH: 498 words
HEADLINE: Threatening letters sent to two targets of mail bombs that killed judge, lawyer
Threatening follow-up letters have been sent to at least two of the four targets of mail bombs that killed a federal judge and a lawyer, investigators said yesterday.
In revealing the existence of the letters, investigators said they may have been sent by those responsible for the bombings, which are believed to be linked to civil-rights cases in the South.
Officials refused to reveal where the two letters were sent or their contents.
The four targets of the bombs were federal Judge Robert Vance; his court, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta; Savannah attorney Robert Robinson; and the Jacksonville, Fla., NAACP.
Vance was killed in his suburban Birmingham, Ala., home Saturday when a nail-studded Bomb exploded; Robinson was killed in his office by a Bomb Monday. The packages sent to the court and the NAACP office were defused safely.
Vance's wife, Helen, is in serious but stable condition with injuries suffered in the bombing.
"There have been follow-up letters sent since receipt of the Bomb parcels," said Leo Shatzel, postal inspector in charge in Atlanta. "It appears they may have been sent by the individual who sent the parcels.
"They were threatening additional mailings to other individuals."
Asked if the letters specifically threatened further bombings, he said, "No."
None of the letters specifically claims responsibility for the bombings on behalf of a person or group, said William Hinshaw, chief of the FBI's Atlanta office; nor do they describe "to a T" the details of the four mail bombs, which would lead investigators to believe the follow-up letters were sent by the bomber.
All four packages have been linked to civil-rights cases: Vance and other 11th Circuit judges have handled school desegregation and other civil-rights cases from Georgia, Alabama and Florida; the Jacksonville NAACP recently won a school desegregation case in the Atlanta court; and Robinson had represented the Savannah NAACP in a school desegregation case.
There were Bomb scares at two Alabama court buildings yesterday, but nothing was found.
One was at the Birmingham court of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Clifford Fulford of Birmingham, who gave the eulogy at Vance's funeral Wednesday.
In Decatur, Ala., a suspicious package was found outside the building that houses the post office and bankruptcy court. It was detonated, but found to contain only clothing, said Decatur police Sgt. Johnny Coker.
In Savannah, Robinson's family scheduled his funeral for tomorrow.
Security will be tight, said Savannah Police Capt. Dan Reynolds, adding that police have been told to expect NAACP Executive Director Benjamin Hooks.
An FBI behavioral psychologist with experience in serial-killing cases has joined the investigation of the bombings, said bureau spokesman Tom Moore.
The psychologist, FBI agent William Hagmaier, has gone to Birmingham to help develop a profile of the person who sent the package to Vance, Moore said.