Martin Luther King junior was a famous civil rights activist renowned for his peaceful methods of protest against white supremacy. He is the most prominent figure in terms of attaining rights for African Americans in the Unites States. He was also a clergy man. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee in April 1968. Fugitive James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to the murder with a subsequent sentence of 99 years in Tennessee State penitentiary. MLK was shot on the balcony of his hotel room by James Earl Ray using a sniper rifle. No credible historian of official has denied the official story. Ray died in 1998 and professed his innocence up until his death. However his narrative changed with regard to why he initially confessed. The Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination stirred up much controversy and he is seen as a martyr and an icon for the plight of Africa Americans living in the U.S.A.
Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination – Loyd Jowers
Lloyd Jowers owned Jim’s grill which operated across the road from Lorraine Motel where King was shot. In 1993 Jowers claimed that he was given over $100,000 to murder MLK. He says he hired a different killer than he was supposed to. Memphis district attorney was unable to find any evidence that Jowers was involved in the murder of MLK after over 6 months of investigation. In 1998 ABC’s Primetime announced Jowers as a fraud, after initially airing his story and making it public in 1993.
Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination – U.S government
The King family, among others, believe that Martin Luther King Junior (MLK) was assassinated at the hands of the U.S government, indicating that James Earl Ray was no more than a scapegoat. This was also alleged by Loyd Jowers. In 1993 Jowers went live on television on ABC’s Primetime and gave details of the conspiracy involving the Mafia and the U.S government to kill MLK. Earl Clark was hired to fire the first shot. This theory was supported in Memphis courts in 1999, however on 2000 the U.S States Department of Justice dismisses the findings of the earlier court case. An interesting aspect of the earlier case was that it was Jowers v the King family, as Jowers was in as part of the plan to kill King. The government itself could not take part as they were not named as defendants. Jowers were essentially confessing to a conspiracy to kill MLK. The jury was swift in its deliberations, indicating that the evidence was strongly in favor of a conspiracy against MLK with involvement of both the government and the mafia. With regard to the initial court case in Memphis, President of the King Center Dexter King stated that:
“We can say that because of the evidence and information obtained in Memphis we believe that this case is over. This is a period in the chapter. We constantly hear reports, which trouble me, that this verdict creates more questions than answers. That is totally false. Anyone who sat in on almost four weeks of testimony, with over seventy witnesses, credible witnesses I might add, from several judges to other very credible witnesses, would know that the truth is here.”
“The question now is, “What will you do with that?” We as a family have done our part. We have carried this mantle for as long as we can carry it. We know what happened. It is on public record. The transcripts will be available; we will make them available on the Web at some point. Any serious researcher who wants to know what happened can find out.”
The full transcript from the MLK trial in Memphis is available online. An interesting exchange happens between the presiding judge and a representative of business interests at the start of the case. Mr Pera argues extensively that the jury selection process be open to the media .
William Prepper also claims that Ray was set up by the U.S government. Prepper was Ray’s last lawyer, and claims that a team of Green Berets accompanied Ray and his accomplice ”Raul”. Raul was a mafia hit man, ray the fall guy, and the government pulling all the strings. Prepper outlines his ideas in the book Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King and mentions the involvement of the CIA (there has never been a conspiracy theory where the CIA was not involved), The FBI and the Memphis police. He also claims that the commander of the Green Berets, Billy Edison, was killed to keep the conspiracy a secret. It is contended that Prepper has convinced the King family of his views about the murder. Prepper was found to have forged a military telegram, and also of outright lying about Billy Edison, who was alive and well and furious at the mention of the involvement of the Green Berets in such a conspiracy theory. Despite this his book was still published( in the same year that Ray died in prison) and generated much misinformation surrounding the deal of Martin Luther King Junior. The second son of MLK, Dexter King, believes that President Lyndon Johnson was involved in the death of his father.
Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination – Raul
Ray has claimed that a character named Raul stood him up for the murder. Allegedly Ray never learned Raul’s real name though he had been involved with operations with him before. Raul told Ray to purchase a rifle and then to give it to him. When Ray handed him the rifle he never heard fro him again. In another version of this theory Ray was in the car while Raul committed the murder. A retired FBI employee has claimed that he found a pieces of paper in Ray’s car with the name “Raul” written on it. The agent took the evidence home and kept it for Thirty years before eventually claiming that he had found it. This information is regarded as fabricated by the FBI. In 1994 “Raul” was apparently found. The individual was quickly acquitted of all involvement in the assassination of MLK. However he is still not free from the groundless accusations.
“They have turned my life upside down… When Dexter King said that I had been found, my wife and I were shocked. This will never end for me, I fear… Doesn’t the truth matter anymore in this country?”
The Raul story does not tally with the confession of the fact that Ray’s fingerprints were found on the rifle, or direct evidence from witnesses who saw him flee the crime scene.
Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination – Conclusion
The official story is quite robust and conclusive. Multiple witnesses report seeing Ray fleeing from his hotel room after the shot was fired. His fingerprints were found on the rifle which he had purchased 2 days before the shooting. Following the two month chase in the aftermath of the assassination, Ray had robbed a bank before finally being apprehended in Heathrow Airport. He confessed to the murder, though he recanted his confession Three days later. It is conclusive that Ray committed the murder himself, though it is possible he was working with others or paid off. There being no concrete evidence of this, it is obviously best to accept the most likely scenario instead of assuming it was a conspiracy.