Montgomery, Ala. -- Bobby Frank Cherry, convicted of killing four black girls in a racially motivated bombing of a Birmingham church in 1963, died Thursday in prison. He was 74.
Cherry died at about 3:30 p.m. in the hospital unit at Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery, a Department of Corrections spokesman said. He had been ill for some time.
Cherry was convicted in May 2002 in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a gathering place for civil rights demonstrators, and was sentenced to life in prison. It was the deadliest act of the civil rights era.
Cherry was among three former Ku Klux Klan members convicted in the Sept. 15, 1963, bombing, which killed the four girls as they were about to take part in a Sunday service.
Thomas Blanton was convicted in 2001 and is serving a life prison sentence. Robert Chambliss, convicted in 1977, also died in prison.
The explosion killed Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, all 14, and Denise McNair, 11.
Cherry had been ill and had claimed he was not receiving proper treatment. His daughter, Karen Sunderland, said the family would bury Cherry in Texas, where she lives. Cherry and Blanton were prosecuted after new evidence, including FBI files, became available.