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Copyright 1991 The Atlanta Constitution  
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

December 6, 1991


LENGTH: 460 words

HEADLINE: Alabama seeks trial of Moody; State pursuing mail-Bomb case in judge's death



Birmingham - The case of convicted mail-Bomb murderer Walter Leroy Moody was to resurface today with a prosecutor looking for a death penalty, a son looking to the future, and a cleared suspect looking for an apology.

Alabama Assistant Attorney General David Vickers was to present evidence to a Jefferson County grand jury seeking a capital murder indictment against Moody for the December 1989 mail-Bomb killing of federal appeals Judge Robert S. Vance.

Robert Vance Jr., a Birmingham lawyer, said his family is satisfied with the federal conviction earlier this year against Moody for his father's death, yet understands why state prosecutors are pursuing the case.

"We're not really chomping at the bit to see the man get the death penalty," Mr. Vance said. "What we really want is to get it going and over with so we can move on."

One-time suspect Robert Wayne O'Ferrell, the south Alabama junk dealer and part-time preacher whose life was turned upside down by federal agents investigating the case, said he wants a personal apology from President Bush.

"The hurt I've had for two years will never go away until I get a public apology," Mr. O'Ferrell said. "If they give me $ 100 million, the hurt won't go away. I didn't ask to be put on worldwide TV and be publicly humiliated."

At today's grand jury session, Mr. Vickers said, various federal agents were to testify against Moody, who was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms plus 400 years in his federal trial for the mail- Bomb deaths of Judge Vance and Savannah Alderman Robert E. Robinson, a civil rights lawyer.

"Obviously, the reason we're trying him is the death penalty is at stake," said Mr. Vickers, noting that Alabama, unlike the federal government, allows the death penalty.

Mr. Vickers said he expected Moody's ex-wife to provide key testimony against him, as she did in the federal proceeding. Georgia officials will seek to indict Moody after the Alabama trial.

Meanwhile, Mr. O'Ferrell's attorney, Paul Hardin, said he will file a lawsuit against the federal government by Christmas. During their investigation, federal agents dug up Mr. O'Ferrell's yard and septic tank and ran roughshod over his junk business as the national news media watched. No evidence was found.

Two weeks ago, Mr. O'Ferrell asked FBI agents to arrange a meeting with the president. The Secret Service was notified and planned to interview Mr. O'Ferrell to determine whether he was a threat to the president. Unexpectedly, they canceled the visit.

"They thought they were going to get caught down here in Evergreen, Ala., with the press," Mr. Hardin said. "I think it's funny as hell. He's not a threat to the president. He just wanted an apology."

GRAPHIC: Photo: Walter Leroy Moody