Austin bombings bring back painful memory for Alabama judge

Bombings bring back painful memories for Birmingham judge
Updated: Mar. 22, 2018 at 6:35 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The last few weeks have been challenging for Alabama Judge Robert Vance Jr.

Vance Jr. has had numerous reminders of a tragedy from about 30 years ago, when his dad, Robert Vance Sr. was killed.

"Dad was killed just about 30 years ago. That's a long time ago. And most days I've been able to put it out of mind. But hearing about what happened in Austin, it brings everything back," Vance, Jr. said during an interview Thursday.

He says news of a three week bombing spree in Texas has caused him to relive the day his father was killed.

Vance Sr. was appointed to the Federal Bench in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter. On December 16, 1989, he was killed in a when a package exploded. That package was delivered to his home like several of the victims in Austin.

"My heart goes out to them," Vance Jr. says of the families of the victims in Austin. "I know what they're experiencing and all the frustrations and anger rising from that."

But it wasn't just the bombings in Texas that caused his mind to flood with his father's death. On Wednesday, it was announced that the man responsible for taking Vance Sr.'s life., Walter Leroy Moody, Jr, will be executed on April 19.

"I'm torn about the execution. I won't be attending it," Vance Jr. says. "We achieved peace when he was convicted. And we knew he would not be able to hurt anyone else."

The younger Vance, who is now a circuit judge in Alabama, says he's not sure what can be gained from the execution of his father's killer. Closure for him has already come.

"I'm sure that day will be tough for me. Again, it will be one of those days I'll have to relive what happened, but again, I'm going to try and go about the day as much as I can."

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