Walter Leroy Moody executed for 1989 murder of federal judge

Walter Lee Moody (Source: Alabama Department of Corrections)
Walter Lee Moody (Source: Alabama Department of Corrections)
Published: Apr. 19, 2018 at 3:15 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2018 at 8:58 PM CDT
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(ATMORE, AL) WSFA/AP - Walter Leroy Moody has been executed for the 1989 murder of a federal judge, the office of Gov. Kay Ivey confirms.

Earlier Thursday evening the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a stay of execution that temporarily halted Alabama's execution of Walter Leroy Moody, Jr. The order cleared the way for the execution to proceed.

Ivey released the following statement after the sentence was carried out:

I approach every execution by giving the condemned, and the issues raised by the underlying case, the careful consideration both deserve. My ultimate desire is to see justice rightly administered.

"Mr. Moody was convicted of killing Federal Judge Robert Vance and severely injuring Judge Vance's wife with a bomb purposefully created to kill and maim. The crimes committed by Mr. Moody were intentional, well-planned and aimed at inflicting the most possible harm. A jury found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and his conviction has been upheld at every level of the judicial system.

"For our system of government to work properly, the judiciary must be able to operate without undue outside influence. By targeting and murdering a respected jurist, Mr. Moody not only committed capital murder, he also sought to interrupt the flow of justice. After considering the facts of his horrendous and intentional crime, I have allowed Mr. Moody's sentence to be carried out in accordance with the laws of this state and in the interest of ensuring justice for the victim and his family.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall also released a statement after the execution:

Nearly 30 years ago, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Vance was brutally slain when a pipe bomb sent to his Birmingham home exploded.  Walter Leroy Moody was convicted of Judge Vance's murder in both federal and state courts. Even though he was also convicted of a similar pipe bomb death of a Georgia attorney, Moody has spent the better part of three decades trying to avoid justice. Tonight, Mr. Moody's appeals finally came to a rightful end. Justice has been served.

The 83-year-old had appealed to the nation's highest court, citing vein issues as his execution loomed.

A package bomber who created a wave of terror across the South in the 1980s, Moody was executed by lethal injection at Holman Correctional Facility.

The execution was slated to happen nearly 30 years after Moody killed Robert S. Vance, a federal judge, with a bomb mailed to his home.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Moody was the oldest inmate put to death in the United States in modern times.

Moody was also convicted in federal court of killing a black civil rights attorney from Savannah, Georgia, and mailing a bomb to a civil rights organization.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. WSFA 12 News contributed. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.