Bobby Frank Cherry was born in 1930 and died in 2004. Two years before his death he was convicted of murder, for his role in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that had taken place in 1963. During that event, four young African American girls were killed and more than twenty other people were severely injured.
Cherry was married and had seven children. He had a violent relationship with his wife, as he expected deference from her and their children, and used beatings to assert himself. After his wife died of cancer, he sent the children to an orphanage home, or to live with relatives.
During his trial, the prosecution presented evidence that Bobby Frank Cherry had assaulted a black minister in the late 1950s, using a set of brass knuckles. Bobby Frank Cherry was originally supposed to be tried at the same time as his fellow defendant but he delayed his trial by saying he suffered from vascular dementia; therefore, his own health was making it difficult for him to assist in his own defense. He was eventually found mentally competent to stand trial but he denied being involved with the bombing or even with the Ku Klux Klan. Despite his attempts, he was found guilty.
During the trial, Cherry his noted for joking with his lawyers and supporters, fully believing that the legal system would not send him to jail. Regardless, he was convicted on four counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison, and in October 2004 the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his conviction.
He was first taken to the Kilby Correctional Facility in Alabama. Then he was moved to Holman Correctional Facility. He was later transferred to Kilby’s hospital unit, where he eventually died in 2004.