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Man Found Guilty in Julie Love Murder

March 8, 1990 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) _ A jury convicted a man of murder and kidnapping late Wednesday in the shotgun slaying of a preschool teacher, a case linked to the mail bomb assassinations of a federal judge and a lawyer.

Defendant Emmanuel Hammond, 24, of Marietta bowed his head when the verdict was announced in Fulton County Superior Court, but otherwise showed no emotion.

The jury reached its verdict around 11:15 p.m., about eight hours after deliberations began.

The prosecution plans to ask for the death penalty. Judge Ralph Hicks said the trial’s sentencing phase would begin Thursday morning.

In addition to felony and malice murder and kidnapping, Hammond was found guilty of armed robbery in the slaying of preschool fitness teacher Julie Love.

Miss Love, 27, disappeared in July 1988, and was the subject of a highly publicized search until her body was found in a northeast Atlanta dumping ground last August. She had been shot in the head.

A letter from a group claiming responsibility for the mail bomb deaths last December of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Vance in Mountain Brook, Ala., and Savannah attorney Robert Robinson said the attacks were motivated by outrage over Miss Love’s slaying.

The letter, signed by Americans for a Competent Federal Judicial System, threatened more violence if any other white women were attacked by black men in Alabama, Florida or Georgia. Miss Love was white; Hammond is black.

Bombs were also intercepted at the 11th U.S. Circuit courthouse in Atlanta and the Jacksonville, Fla., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Testimony in Hammond’s trial began last week under heavy security because of concern over the mail-bomb link. A death threat from a group called the Aryan Resistance Movement, apparently unrelated to the bombings, prompted even tighter security later.

In closing arguments Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney William L. Hawthorne III urged jurors to convict Hammond, saying, ″Give the devil his due.″

He said there would be more violence if Hammond were acquitted.

″As sure as I stand here before you, there will be another victim,″ Hawthorne said. ″You just don’t know her name yet.″

Defense attorney William A. Wehunt said in his closing statement that Hammond was innocent.

Wehunt charged that Hammond’s two chief accusers, former girlfriend Janice Weldon and Hammond cousin Maurice Porter, killed Miss Love and were trying to frame his client.

Porter pleaded guilty to murder, armed robbery and rape in the death of Miss Love and is awaiting sentencing.

He testified last week that Hammond abducted Miss Love from an Atlanta street after her car ran out of gas and dragged her into some bushes before shooting her to death. Miss Weldon, who led police to Miss Love’s body, also testified against Hammond.