A parole board has decided against freeing a one-time Ku Klux Klansman convicted over a church bombing in Alabama that killed four black girls more than 50 years ago.
The decision to keep Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr, 76, imprisoned was met with applause at the hearing in Montgomery.
Relatives of the girls killed spoke against Blanton’s release during the hearing.
Blanton is the last surviving KKK member convicted of murder over the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church.
He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2001 for being part of a group of Klansmen who planted a bomb that exploded outside the church on September 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.
Their deaths inside a church on a Sunday morning became a symbol worldwide of the depth of racial hatred in America’s South.
Doug Jones, a former US lawyer who prosecuted Blanton, had previously said Blanton should not be released since he has never expressed any remorse.
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