Birmingham Bomb Victim's Dad Gets Early Release
Chris McNair out on compassion grounds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 29, 2013 3:46 PM CDT
A 2005 file photo of former Jefferson County Commissioner Chris McNair.   (Amy E. Voigt)

(Newser) – A judge sided with the Obama administration today and ordered the early release from prison of a former Alabama politician whose daughter died in Birmingham's racist church bombing of 1963. US District Judge Lynwood Smith approved the release of Chris McNair after the Justice Department sought McNair's freedom on grounds of compassion. The judge said the 87-year-old should be freed because of his advanced age and deteriorating health.

McNair was part of the Jefferson County Commission that made deals resulting in a municipal bankruptcy over more than $4 billion in debts. The administration's request for leniency asked a judge to reduce McNair's five-year sentence to the time he has served since entering prison in 2011. He'll be out as soon as travel arrangements can be made. McNair is the father of Denise McNair, one of the four black girls killed when Ku Klux Klansmen bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. A bell from the landmark church was rung at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday during commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

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Aug 30, 2013 2:02 AM CDT
If he was white he'd still be in jail.
Aug 29, 2013 11:13 PM CDT
Compassion my butt. He was released because his medical care was getting expensive and they didn't want to pay for it. Happens all the time, and once released, he won't qualify for medicaid because he's a felon. I don't know about medicare though, but they deny felons food stamps, and medicaid down here in the compassionate south. Label them as felons, so they can't get a job, or find a place to live, deny them food stamps and health care, and then whine about the recidivism rate. Duhhhh What do you expect? You leave them no other options. Want out of prison? Come down with an expensive medical condition. You'll be released in no time. Go die on the streets.
Aug 29, 2013 7:33 PM CDT
I'd be all on board with the harshness if one, just one, of the Wall St. Assholes who ruined the economy saw just one day inside a jail cell.