VanPac News History

Copyright 1990 Gannett Company Inc.  

January 12, 1990, Friday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 239 words

HEADLINE: FBI constructs a portrait of mail-Bomb killer

BYLINE: Wayne Beissert


A portrait of a suspect in the mail-Bomb slayings of a federal judge and civil rights lawyer is beginning to emerge.

The Birmingham Post-Herald said Thursday the FBI believes the bomber is an elderly white man who is very religious or has legal experience.

A psychologist says the bomber is mentally ill, may have Alzheimer's, may have been a minor crime victim.

Judge Robert Vance of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was killed Dec. 16 by a mail Bomb at his Mountain Brook, Ala., home. On Dec. 18, civil rights lawyer Robert Robinson was killed by a Bomb in Savannah, Ga. Other bombs were found in Atlanta's 11th Circuit courthouse, the Jacksonville, Fla., NAACP office.

The FBI believes the bomber is elderly because:

- He used 3-cent stamps, which are no longer sold, to send the packages.

- He used an old-fashioned method to wrap the packages - brown butcher's paper and baker's string.

The FBI, the newspaper said, thinks he is religious or has a legal background because he used ''shall,'' a word common in Scriptures and legal books, several times.

FBI agent Tom Moore declined to comment.

University of Southern California psychologist Alfred Coodley says an elderly bomber may have the beginnings Alzheimer's, allowing him to accept irrational beliefs.

His actions may have been triggered, says Coodley, by involvement in a case such as a traffic fine, or by being the victim of a minor crime.