Prosecutors in the Birmingham church bombing trial of former Ku Klux Klansman Thomas Blanton Junior have rested their case. Defense testimony begins Monday at 8:30 a.m.
Final prosecution witnesses included one-time FBI informant Mitchell Burns, and the father of one of the four black girls killed in the 1963 bombing at 16th Street Baptist Church. Jurors also heard from the sister of one of the victims who was injured in the dynamite explosion.
Chris McNair, whose daughter Denise died in the blast, identified a piece of mortar that was taken from Denise's head. He looked at it on the witness stand like he wouldn't touch it.
After McNair, Sarah Collins Rudolph, the sister of bomb victim Addie Mae Collins, badly injured in the explosion, described for jurors what happened the morning of the blast as they gathered at church. Rudolph had to be hospitalized for two months afterwards with her own injuries.
Saturday morning, Blanton could be heard on an FBI tape recording. The tapes were secretly recorded 35 years ago, and some could not be clearly heard.
The tapes were made while the 62-year-old Blanton was riding around Birmingham in a 1956 Chevy with Klansman and FBI informant Burns. The 73-year-old Burns was recruited by the FBI to spend time with Blanton following the 1963 bombing.
Burns testified Saturday that he rode around with Blanton for a couple of years as the FBI recorded their conversations. On one tape, Blanton said, "They ain't gonna catch me when I bomb my next church." Burns is heard asking: "How did you do that Tommy?" Blanton replied: "It wasn't easy. I tell you."