MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A convicted package bomber has asked a court to block his scheduled execution this week, arguing that Alabama has no right to carry out the death penalty while he is also serving a federal sentence.
Walter Leroy Moody, Jr., is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Thursday for the bombing death of U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Vance in 1989. The judge died when he opened a package bomb that Moody sent to his home.
Moody is the oldest inmate on Alabama's death row at age 83. He was first convicted in federal court in 1991 and sentenced to seven life sentences plus 400 years. In 1996, he was convicted in state court of capital murder and a judge sentenced him to the death.
In a court filing Monday, the Justice Department lawyers wrote that Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the U.S. will give Alabama full custody of Moody so the state can execute him.
Attorneys for Moody last week asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay his execution as the court considers Moody's appeal, arguing that the state cannot put him to death while he is serving federal sentence. Moody is being housed in a state prison.
"Those federal sentences are still being served, albeit in the physical custody of the State of Alabama. Attorney General Sessions has no authority to interrupt Mr. Moody's federal sentences," lawyers for Moody wrote.
Attorneys for the Department of Justice wrote in an earlier court filing that "Moody has no personal right to serve his federal and state sentences in any particular order and may not interject himself into a determination that is the sole province of the United States and Alabama."