The Klansman who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., killing four black girls in 1963, goes before the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles next month for his first parole hearing, reports Alabama.com.
Thomas E. Blanton Jr., who was convicted only in 2001, will go before the board Aug. 3.
Addie Mae Collins, 14; Cynthia Wesley, 14; Carole Robertson, 14; and Carol Denise McNair, 11, were killed in the dynamite blast that ripped through their church Sunday morning, Sept. 15, 1963.
Doug Jones, the former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Blanton, says that he plans to be at the hearing to oppose parole for the Klansman.
“He has shown no remorse. He’s shown no acceptance of responsibility,” Jones said. “He has not reached out to the families or the community to show acceptance of responsibility. I think that's an important part of parole consideration, and it’s completely lacking in this case.”
Jones said that he doesn’t expect former Jefferson County Commissioner Chris McNair and his wife, whose daughter was among those killed in the bomb blast, to attend the hearing. But he said that he expects Denise’s sisters to be present, along with relatives of the other girls.
Sarah Collins Rudolph, who was injured in the blast and whose sister Addie Mae Collins was killed, said Friday that she will be going to the parole hearing. But she said that she doesn’t want to reveal what she will say before the hearing.
Blanton is serving four life sentences at the St. Clair Correctional Facility. Under Alabama parole rules, those serving life sentences for murder are generally first eligible for parole after 15 years.
Blanton is the last surviving Klansman who was tried in the bombing.
No one was arrested in the bombing for years, until federal and state prosecutors revived investigations. Robert Chambliss was convicted in 1977. Blanton was convicted in 2001. And Bobby Frank Cherry was convicted in 2002. Chambliss and Cherry died in prison.
Spike Lee’s documentary Four Little Girls was based on the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.
Read more at Alabama.com.