Church Bombing

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
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State prison officials said Thursday they allowed a California film crew to interview convicted church bomber Bobby Frank Cherry for a possible HBO documentary. The decision comes after the department refused for two years to let Cherry speak with reporters from Alabama and elsewhere.

Cherry, who has complained of maltreatment in letters to news reporters and relatives, was granted permission to speak with a crew from Tell The Truth Pictures at Holman Prison last month.

Corrections officials had classified the 74-year-old Cherry as a high-profile inmate whose safety could be threatened by more publicity. Cherry lives in a one-man cell to protect him from other prisoners.

Prison spokesman Brian Corbett said officials granted the interview request because the film company is working on a piece showing the "historical context" of the 1960s in Birmingham, where Cherry was convicted in 2002 in a 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls.

Andrew Ellison, a producer who interviewed Cherry in a prison conference room, said neither Cherry nor prison officials were paid for the interview.