Birmingham Judge Sends Ex-Klansman Back for Competency Testing - Montgomery Alabama news.

Updated August 10, 6:41 p.m.

Birmingham Judge Sends Ex-Klansman Back for Competency Testing

Civil rights activists won a big battle in a Birmingham courtroom on Friday.

One man they believe was involved in the 1963 bombing of the 16th street Baptist church is now in state custody for mental treatment and evaluation.

Bobby Frank Cherry will be examined to see if he is competent to stand trial. Cherry is headed to the Taylor hardin Secure Medical Facility in Tuscaloosa for treatment, where he will undergo medical treatments to help ease any problems he may have with memory loss and dementia.

Civil rights leaders say the aftermath of the church bombing won't truly be cleaned up until all suspects in the case are tried.  Friday's decision to test Cherry's sanity a second time while in custody was exactly what the special prosecutor in the case wanted.

Doug Jones argued in favor of more testing. "There was evidence that Mr. Cherry could have been overmedicated. I think that putting him in a secured facility will make sure he is regulated and you have medical professionals that are going to look at him every day," Jones said.

Hundreds of civil rights activists are following the case and called for Cherry to be tested again. Several of them, including local state and national figures, attended today's hearing. They say this is one more necessary step toward a trial.

SCLC President Martin Luther King III called attention to the crowd that filled the courtroom.

"This is just a small reflection of the number of men and women across this country who support this effort and want to see closure. Closure will only come after a trial happens," King said.

Cherry's attorney says his client was not surprised by the ruling, and they will not challenge it.

"It's like we told Mr. Cherry all along. We will respect the court's authority. If we challenge anything the court says, we'll do it in the appropriate manner," lawyer Mickey Johnson told reporters.

Doctors will be looking at Cherry every day to decide if he has recovered enough to help lawyers prepare a defense in the church bombing.

If doctors decide he's recovered, the state could ask a judge to declare him fit for trial and set a date for that to begin.

Cherry, who is 72-years-old, could be held up to three months in the Tuscaloosa facility.

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