ATLANTA (Oct. 19)
The Atlanta police, assisted by the FBI, this week-end rounded up five men previously indicted on charges of having blown up The Temple here. Four men were picked up on Friday and the fifth was arrested yesterday.
The indictment, returned by a grand jury, charges that the defendants “did willfully and maliciously” destroy the synagogue by using an explosive unknown to the jurors. First reports had it that dynamite had been used in this attack. The Georgia law under which the indictment was drawn provides a maximum punishment of execution in the electric chair.
The grand jury that indicted the five received threats and was harassed by anonymous telephone calls. The jury foreman was threatened with death. Police are protecting the homes of jury members. One threat addressed to the jury said the “Confederate Underground” would “kill all of you who indicted those innocent men.”
The defendants are: Wallace Allen, 32 year-old printing salesman: George Bright, 35; Kenneth Griffin, a Georgia State revenue department employee; Robert Bowling, 25, and his brother Richard. The latter was considered the “central figure” sought in connection with the synagogue bombing.
All the defendants denied the charges. Griffin asserted that the Reform temple had been bombed by “Communist Jews in an effort to discredit and smear the growing and brave National States Rights Party.” Large quantities of anti-Semitic hate literature and at least one letter involving another anti-Negro, anti-Jewish leader was found during the arrests and accompanying searches.