History of Investigations into the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing


History of Investigations

The Bombing

1997 Janet Reno Speech

Boston Busing Violence

For Sale:

Long Time Coming: An Insider's Story of the Birmingham Church Bombing that Rocked the World.

Behind the Stained Glass: A History of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Until Justice Rolls Down: The Birmingham Church Bombing Case

4 Little Girls: 1998 Spike Lee Documentary

May 1, 2001
After less than three hours of deliberations, a jury found Thomas Blanton guilty of four counts of first degree murder, and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

May 17, 2000
Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry surrendered after an Alabama grand jury indicted them on first-degree murder charges. They have also been charged with four counts of "universal malice."

May 4, 2000
A lawyer for Bobby Frank Cherry, a long-time suspect in the bombing, says his client rejected a deal in which he would receive probation if he pleaded guilty to transporting explosives over state lines. Currently in a Texas jail on rape charges, Cherry continued to deny any involvement in the bombing.

July 10, 1997
After a secret, year-long review, the FBI reopens its investigation.

Read a July 1997 article on the bombing and the investigation.

Read Janet Reno's Speech at the 16th Street Baptist Church on January 15, 1997.

October, 1988
Gary A. Tucker, dying of cancer, says he helped set the bomb. Federal and state prosecutors reopen their investigation, but new charges are never filed.

October 29, 1985
At age 81, convicted bomber Robert Edward Chambliss dies in prison of natural causes never having publicly admitted any role he had in the bombing.

After the US Dept. of Justice releases a report that J. Edgar Hoover had blocked evidence that could have been used in the investigation, an Alabama district attorney reopens the case. No new charges are filed.

Robert Edward Chambliss is convicted of one count of murder in Carol McNair's death.

The case is reopened by Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley.

No charges are filed as federal authorities pull out of the investigation.

Saying that the chance of getting a conviction was "remote", FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover blocked the prosecution of several suspects.

September 15, 1963
A bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing 11-year-old Carol Denise McNair and 14-year-olds Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins and Carole Robertson.

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