Death row inmate Walter Leroy Moody is scheduled to be executed Thursday night for killing an Alabama judge decades ago.
Judge Robert Vance died when a pipe bomb blew up at his home.
Moody was also charged with killing a Savannah attorney, Robert Robinson.
I sat down to speak with members of Robinson’s family.
“I want him to rot in jail. I want him to suffer.”
Robinson’s daughter, Edwina Holman, is talking about Walter Leroy Moody.
Holman was 16 when a pipe bomb, sent by Moody, blew up at her father’s law office in Savannah.
Holman would rather Moody stay in jail for the rest of his life than be put to death.
“The lethal injection, it was designed to be quick and painless. My dad’s death was not quick and painless,” said Holman.
Holman’s sister, Tiffany Birt, was just 10-years-old the day their dad died.
“I knew that it hurt and I knew that my family was hurting and I knew that I wasn’t going to see my father again and that hurt,” said Birt.
It’s a hurt that the family of Robbie Robinson has lived with for almost 30 years.
Robinson, a civil rights lawyer and Alderman for the city of Savannah was murdered in December 1989.
His sister, Barbara Pulliam, lives in Augusta and remembers how she got the news.
“I knew it was bad because when I called my mom and nobody said hello,” said Pulliam. “The phone was picked up and all I heard was screaming.”
Pulliam jumped in the car and headed to Savannah but didn’t make it in time to say goodbye to her only brother.
Neither did her sister Ruth Teasley, who was living in New Jersey.
“His picture flashed across my TV and it said that a mail bomb had been sent to his office,” said Teasley.
She took the next flight to Georgia.
Just two days before Robinson’s death, a pipe bomb was mailed to the home of Alabama Judge Robert Vance.
Vance was killed and his wife badly injured.
“Why do you think your brother was a target?” I asked.
“Actually, this man didn’t even know him,” said Pulliam. “He had gripes with the judicial system. He was disbarred because of his previous action of sending explosives through the mail.”
Pulliam believes the attack on her brother was an effort to confuse police who were investigating the judge’s death.
“In order to throw them off, he looked for an NAACP lawyer to let them think it was a white supremacist act,” said Pulliam.
The plan didn’t work.
Authorities pieced together evidence linking Moody to the crimes.
In 1991, Moody was convicted of killing judge Vance and charged with mailing the device that resulted in Robinson’s death.
“Do you ever wish your brother’s case had been tried first?” I asked.
“They offered us that but my sister and I felt like it would be too much on my mom,” said Pulliam.
For this family who has suffered so much, Thursday night’s scheduled execution is bittersweet. Moody will finally be brought to justice, but it won’t bring back their loved one.
“I am just so thankful that I’ve lived long enough to see the day that he will be executed and finally get his ultimate penalty for the crimes committed,” said Teasley.
Today is Jeffrey Pulliam’s birthday.
He was 13 when his uncle died. He considers Moody’s execution a gift.
“The anticipation of death is worse than death itself and I’m pretty sure he’s thinking about it right how,” said Jeffrey.
Robbie Robinson’s memory lives on.
A park, a parking garage and even a scholarship fund are named in his honor. All symbols of a life well lived.