Birmingham, Ala. A former wife of an ex-Klansman testified at his murder trial Thursday that he claimed to have placed the explosive device and lit the fuse in the 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls.
"He said he got out of the car and put the bomb under the stairs the night before," said Willadean Brogdon, who was married to Bobby Frank Cherry in the early 1970s.
The 71-year-old Cherry is accused of joining other Ku Klux Klansmen in planting the bomb at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a rallying point for protests against segregation.
Brogdon, who was married to Cherry from August 1970 until April 1973, said he called her once when his car broke down near the church.
"I went to get him and he said that was the church where he put the bomb under the stairs," she said. "He said he lit the fuse."
Brogdon said Cherry expressed regret that children were killed, but then he added, "At least they can't grow up to have any more niggers."
The bombing on Sept. 15, 1963, was the deadliest act of violence against the civil rights movement. Killed were Denise McNair, 11, and Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, who were 14.