Judge right to send Cherry to trial

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2002

An Alabama Circuit judge has made a

historic ruling in declaring Bobby Frank Cherry mentally competent to stand trail for a fatal 1963 chuch bombing.

In a brief, two-sentence order issued Thursday, the judge ruled that Cherry "has been restored to competency" after additional mental evaluations.

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That means Cherry will stand trail nearly 40 years after the bombing that killed four black girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

And it means that justice may finally be served.

Investigators have long suspected who was responsible for the deadly bombing; two other former Klansmen have been convicted of murder in the case, one in 1977 and one last year.

Bringing Cherry, who is more than 70 years old, to trial means the state will push to hold accountable and to punish those responsible for horrific crimes committed during the emotionally charged Civil Rights Era. In the case of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, four innocent young girls died simply because of the color of their skin. It was a violent, fierce crime that has long been unpunished. It is time to resolve this.

We in Alabama, and America, have come far since those trying days of the Civil Rights struggle. we have made much progress. More important, we are working to learn from our past and build toward our future.

But to do that, we must be able to bring closure to those open wounds of our past. Bringing those responsible for the bombing to justice should go far in healing those wounds.  

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