An Alabama inmate convicted of the mail-bomb slaying of a federal judge during a wave of Southern terror in 1989 was executed by lethal injection Thursday, becoming the oldest prisoner put to death in the US in modern times. Walter Leroy Moody Jr., 83, was pronounced dead at 8:42pm following an injection at the Alabama prison at Atmore. He had no last statement and didn't respond when an official asked if he had any last words shortly before the chemicals began flowing, the AP reports. Authorities said Moody sent out four mail bombs in December 1989, killing Judge Robert S. Vance in Alabama and Robert E. Robinson, a black civil rights attorney from Savannah, Ga. Two other bombs, including one mailed to the NAACP office in Jacksonville, were intercepted and didn't explode.
At his 1996 trial, prosecutors described Moody as a meticulous coward who killed Vance with murder by mail because of his obsession with getting revenge on the legal system, and then committed additional package bombings to make it look like the KKK was behind the judge's murder. Moody is the oldest US inmate put to death since executions resumed in the US in the 1970s, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. His attorneys argued in court filings and a clemency petition to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey that his age and vein condition would make lethal injection more difficult. The US Supreme Court temporarily stayed execution plans Thursday evening to consider Moody's late appeals, but it later lifted the stay without comment, allowing the execution to go forward.