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Copyright 1992 The Atlanta Constitution  
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

January 3, 1992


LENGTH: 360 words

HEADLINE: Grand jury in Alabama indicts Moody; Prosecutors will seek death penalty in case



Montgomery - An Alabama grand jury indicted Walter Leroy Moody Jr. on capital murder charges in the 1989 mail-Bomb slaying of a federal judge at his suburban Birmingham home, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Assistant State Attorney General David Vickers said Moody, 58, of Rex, Ga., was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on one count of capital murder by means of an explosive and one count of killing a federal official.

If convicted of capital murder in Alabama, Moody could be sentenced to death in the state's electric chair or to life in prison without parole.

Moody was accused of mailing the packaged explosive that detonated and killed 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Vance at his Mountain Brook home Dec. 16, 1989.

Mr. Vickers said the grand jury also indicted Moody on a charge of assault on the judge's wife, Helen Vance, who was injured when the package exploded as the judge opened it.

Moody was convicted last year on 71 federal counts in the mail-Bomb killings of Judge Vance and Robert E. Robinson, a Savannah, Ga., city alderman and civil rights lawyer, who was slain when a package exploded two days after Judge Vance's death. Moody is serving seven life terms plus 400 years on the federal convictions.

Mr. Vickers said Moody is serving the federal sentence at a prison in Illinois and that a request for extradition to Alabama would be made. Moody could be brought to Alabama for arraignment in 60 days.

State Attorney General Jimmy Evans, who pursued the capital murder charge after Moody's federal conviction last year, has said the circumstances in the slaying of the federal judge warrant a sentence of death. Prosecutors in Georgia also have said they would seek the death penalty in Mr. Robinson's slaying.

The Atlanta-based 11th Circuit, on which Judge Vance served, has jurisdiction over federal appeals in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. The federal trial of Moody was moved to Minnesota to make sure his rights to a fair trial were not infringed.

State prosecutors have said defense lawyers similarly may seek to move any capital murder trial of Moody away from Alabama.