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Former KKK member Thomas Edward Blanton, Jr. Sentenced to Four Consecutive Life Sentences in AL Murders
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Thread: Former KKK member Thomas Edward Blanton, Jr. Sentenced to Four Consecutive Life Sentences in AL Murders

  1. #1
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Former KKK member Thomas Edward Blanton, Jr. Sentenced to Four Consecutive Life Sentences in AL Murders


    Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins and Denise McNair




    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr. was a young Ku Klux Klansman with a reputation for hating blacks in 1963, when a bomb ripped a hole in the side of 16th Street Baptist Church, killing four black girls during the civil rights movement.

    Today, Blanton is old and imprisoned, the last survivor among three one-time KKK members convicted of murder in the bombing. Soon, Alabama's parole board will decide whether Blanton deserves to be free after serving 15 years of a life term for murder.

    The board has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to consider parole for the 78-year-old Blanton. Inmates are not allowed to attend parole hearings in Alabama, but opponents of Blanton's release are expected to address the three-person board when it meets in Montgomery.

    The president of the Alabama NAACP, Bernard Simelton, said releasing Blanton at a time when protests are occurring nationwide over police killings of black people would send a horrible message. NAACP chapters statewide are sending letters in opposition to Blanton's release, and the Birmingham chapter is sending a busload of people to oppose parole, he said.

    "It would be a slap in the face to those young ladies and their families to release him," Simelton said.

    Blanton was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2001 for being part of a group of Klansmen who planted a dynamite bomb that exploded outside 16th Street Baptist on Sept. 15, 1963. The blast killed 11-year-old Denise McNair and 14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Morris, also known as Cynthia Wesley.

    The girls, who were inside the church preparing for worship, died instantly in a hail of bricks and stone that seriously injured Collins' sister, Sarah Collins Rudolph. Their deaths inside a church on a Sunday morning became a symbol worldwide of the depth of racial hatred in the segregated South.

    Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Blanton on the state charge, said Blanton shouldn't be released since he has never accepted responsibility for the bombing or expressed any remorse for a crime that was aimed at maintaining racial separation at a time Birmingham's public schools were facing a court order to desegregate.

    "This was, as I said during the trial, an act of terrorism before the word 'terrorism' was part of our everyday lives," Jones said.

    Jones plans to attend the hearing in opposition to Blanton's early release, and so do several relatives of the girls and the current pastor of 16th Street Baptist, the Rev. Arthur Price. The crowd will include Rudolph, who survived injuries including the loss of an eye and testified against Blanton at his trial.

    "I'll be there. I'm not saying what I will say until then," said Rudolph.

    Long a suspect in the case, Blanton was the second of three people convicted in the bombing. Robert Chambliss, convicted in 1977, and Bobby Frank Cherry, who was convicted in the bombing in 2002, both died in prison.

    Blanton and Cherry were indicted in 2000 after the FBI reopened an investigation of the bombing. Evidence against Blanton included secret recordings that were made using FBI bugs at his home and in the car of a fellow Klansman turned informant.

    While board members could consider Blanton's advanced age in deciding whether to grant parole, Jones said that shouldn't be a factor.

    "It took (38) years for him to be brought to justice to begin with," Jones said. "I think that mitigates against the fact that he is an elderly man now."

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/07/30...or-parole.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
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    16th Street Baptist Church bomber Thomas Blanton denied parole

    The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles today denied parole for Thomas E. Blanton.

    Blanton, 78, is serving four life sentences for his 2001 conviction in the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Baptist Church in Birmingham that killed four little girls. It was Blanton's first chance at parole.

    Blanton is the last surviving Klansman who was either convicted or suspected in the Sept. 15, 1963 bombing that killed Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair.

    http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/in...ring_paro.html
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Frequent Poster Bobsicles's Avatar
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    Thomas Blanton, KKK Bomber of Birmingham Church, dies at 82

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr., the last of three one-time Ku Klux Klansmen convicted in a 1963 Alabama church bombing that killed four Black girls and was the deadliest single attack of the civil rights movement, died Friday in prison, officials said. He was 81.

    Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said Blanton died of natural causes. He was being held at Donaldson prison near Birmingham, prison officials said.

    In May 2001, Blanton was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Ivey, in a statement, called the bombing “a dark day that will never be forgotten in both Alabama’s history and that of our nation.”

    When asked by the judge during sentencing if he had any comment, Blanton said: “I guess the good Lord will settle it on judgment day.”

    The church bombing, exposing the depths of hatred by white supremacists as Birmingham integrated its public schools, was a tipping point of the civil rights movement. Moderates could no longer remain silent and the fight to topple segregation laws gained new momentum.

    The investigation into the bombing was stalled early and left dormant for long stretches, but two other ex-Klansmen, Robert Chambliss and Bobby Frank Cherry, also were convicted in the bombing in separate trials. Chambliss was convicted in 1977 and died in prison in 1985. Cherry was convicted in 2002 and died in prison in 2004.

    On Sept. 15, 1963, a bomb ripped through an exterior wall of the brick church, killing four girls who were inside preparing for a youth program. The bodies of Denise McNair, 11, and Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson, all 14, were found in the downstairs lounge.

    Collins’ sister, Sarah Collins Rudolph, survived the blast but lost her right eye and is known as the “fifth little girl.” Glass fragments remained in her chest, left eye and abdomen for decades after the explosion.

    A parole hearing was scheduled next year for Blanton, and Rudolph and her husband planned to attend in opposition to his release, which was denied during a previous hearing.

    “She hopes that he found Jesus Christ and repented,” George Rudolph said on behalf of his wife.

    Lisa McNair, the sister of Denise McNair, said she also hoped Blanton had repented and added: “I wish I could have sat down with him to find out if he had had a change of heart.”

    Blanton never admitted any role in the blast, but evidence showed he was part of a group of hard-core Klansmen who made a bomb and planted it on a Sunday morning.

    During the trial, then-U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, appointed as a special state prosecutor, said Blanton acted in response to months of civil rights demonstrations. The targeted church was a rallying point for protesters.

    “Tom Blanton saw change and didn’t like it,” Jones, now a Democratic U.S. senator, said in the trial.

    Blanton proclaimed his innocence years after being sent to prison. In a 2006 interview with Birmingham station WBRC-TV, he claimed the government used trumped-up evidence and lies to gain his conviction.

    “I think I was cleverly set up by the government … and that’s why I’m here,” Blanton told the television station from St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Alabama. “I’m sorry it happened. Deeply sorry. But I’m not responsible for it.”

    A 1993 meeting in Birmingham between FBI officials and Black ministers led to the reopening of the bombing case against Blanton and Cherry. The investigation remained quiet until 1997 when agents went to Texas to talk to Cherry.

    A decade earlier, the U.S. Justice Department concluded that former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had blocked prosecution of Klansmen in the bombing.

    https://www.wane.com/news/thomas-bla...ch-dies-at-81/
    Last edited by Bobsicles; 06-26-2020 at 08:16 PM.
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    Administrator Aaron's Avatar
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    Burn.
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  5. #5
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Sweet Jesus this garbage human lived way to long. May he rot in hell.
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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