Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies lead Thomas Blanton Jr., center, out of the courtroom in handcuffs after a jury convicted him of murder in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, May 1, 2001. Blanton, a former Ku Klux Klansman, was convicted for the murder of four black girls in the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and sentenced to life in prison by the jury, based on an old state law that applied to the case.

AP Photo/Dave Martin

In Alabama, individuals serving time in prison for murder are eligible for parole within 15 years. 

Taylor Lewis
Jul, 18, 2016

The last surviving Klansmen who was responsible for the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing is eligible for parole next month.

Alabama.com reports that this is the first time that 86-year-old Thomas Blanton Jr., who was convicted of the crime in 2001 and is serving four life sentences, is eligible for parole. However, legal experts suspect that a judge will deny him of his request.

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“He has shown no remorse,” said Doug Jones, former US attorney who brought charges against Blanton. “He’s shown no acceptance of responsibility. 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 considerations, and it’s completely lacking in this case.”

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Blanton, along with a suspected three other Klansmen, bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963, killing four young schoolgirls. No convictions were secured until 1977, when Robert Chambliss was prosecuted. Bobby Frank Cherry was convicted in 2002, and a fourth suspect, Herman Cash, died without being charged.

Sarah Collins Rudolph, whose sister died in the bombing, is expected to attend the hearing and make undisclosed remarks.