After he was convicted of murdering four black girls in the 1963 bombing of the Birmingham, Alabama, 16th Street Baptist Church, Thomas E. Blanton Jr. was asked if he had anything to say before sentencing. "No," he replied, "I guess the good Lord will settle on Judgment Day." Maybe Blanton had simply learned to keep his mouth shut: a 36-year-old taped conversation is credited with his conviction. "I like to go shooting, I like to go fishing, I like to go bombing," Blanton had bragged to a friend.
As The New York Times notes, the case "took 38 years to bring to trial, [but] a Birmingham jury of eight whites and four blacks spent barely two hours in deliberations today before convicting." The Los Angeles Times notes that the jury forewoman "sobbed throughout her reading of the four guilty verdicts."
Blanton is the second of the four former Ku Klux Klansmen named as suspects back in 1963 to be tried in the deadliest attack of the civil-rights movement. But so far, only Robert "Dynamite Bob" Chambliss had been convicted. He died in prison in 1985. Herman Cash, another suspect, has died, and Bobby Frank Cherry was ruled incompetent to stand trial.
"We are very, very grateful for the jury's verdict," USA Today quotes U.S. Attorney Doug Jones as saying. "Justice delayed is still justice, and we've got it here tonight."
Other stories about crime:
- Church attackers face additional charges | St. Lucia priest dies from burns, leading to another murder charge (St Vincent Herald)
- Couple prayed as neighbor whispered threats | A man who conducted a hate campaign against his neighbors, following them to church and whispering threats to them while they prayed, has been banned from any form of communication with them for life. (The Times, London)
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