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Thomas Blanton, Jr.,

former member of the Ku Klux Klan, was convicted in May of the 1963 murder of four black girls who died in the fiery explosion of the Birmingham, Alabama, 16th Street Baptist Church. The bombing is considered the most heinous crime of the civil rights era. A second man, Bobby Frank Cherry, who was charged last year along with Blanton, was declared mentally unfit to stand trial.

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