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Copyright 1998 The Atlanta Constitution

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

November 25, 1998, Wednesday



LENGTH: 571 words


Mail Bomb probe suit rejected


A federal judge in Birmingham ruled Tuesday that the FBI owes nothing to a junk dealer whose $ 50 million lawsuit claimed a misdirected mail Bomb investigation in 1990 ruined his health, reputation and livelihood. U.S. District Judge Harold Albritton said the government is shielded from such damage claims and did not recklessly disregard the truth when search warrants were issued for Robert Wayne O'Ferrell's home and surplus store in January 1990. During the investigation of O'Ferrell, agents looked for a typewriter with keys to match the typed labels on mail bombs that killed U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Vance of Mountain Brook, Ala., and civil rights lawyer Robert Robinson of Savannah in 1989. The typewriter was never found, but FBI investigators determined the mail Bomb labels matched letters that O'Ferrell had previously written to the courts. O'Ferrell, 55, and his former wife, Mary Ann Martin, said in their lawsuit that agents pursued O'Ferrell despite knowing that Walter Leroy Moody of Rex, Ga., was the bomber. They sought $ 25 million each. Moody was convicted and sentenced to death in the mail bombing that killed Vance.

Late-term abortion law thrown out A federal judge in Miami threw out a Florida law banning a controversial type of late-term abortion Tuesday, ruling that the measure is unconstitutionally vague. The 1997 law "has the unconstitutional purpose and effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion prior to the fetus attaining viability," said U.S. District Judge Donald Graham. The law outlawed a procedure described by opponents as "partial-birth abortion," in which a fetus is partly delivered and destroyed. Graham ruled that the law prohibited some early abortions and failed to protect a pregnant woman's health.

Sleepwalker awakens surrounded by gators A 77-year-old Florida man with a habit of sleepwalking awoke to find himself up to his armpits in alligators. James Currens wandered behind his Palm Harbor home early Monday and stumbled into a pond. He woke up in several feet of water, his legs stuck in the mud. He said several alligators, some longer than 3 feet, came around. Currens said he poked at them with his cane to try to keep them away. A neighbor heard him yelling and called police, who used lights to scare off the gators and freed Currens. The retired maintenance supervisor suffered only minor cuts on his legs and arms from the fall.

Viagra to get new warning label Since last spring, 130 Americans who took Viagra, the popular impotence drug, have died. The Food and Drug Administration says the majority of the deaths were from heart attacks, but it stresses there is no proof the drug caused the deaths. Even so, the FDA has notified doctors that manufacturer Pfizer is changing the drug's label to add more explicit warnings that Viagra users have reported cases of heart attacks and high blood pressure to the FDA.

180 tons of beef recalled in Southeast About 359,000 pounds of various beef products shipped to discount stores in Georgia and three other Southeastern states have been voluntarily recalled because they may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the U.S. Agriculture Department announced Tuesday. The beef was processed by Colorado Boxed Beef Co. of Auburndale, Fla. It was sold at Winn-Dixie, Albertson's and Wal-Mart stores in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Emergency workers examine the scene of a five-vehicle crash on I-65 in
Alabaster, Ala., that left two people dead Tuesday. The crash involved
three tractor-trailer rigs and two cars. / PHILIP BARR / Birmingham News