Memphis. April 4 1968. One shot and the voice of America s most enduring symbol of non-violent struggle is silenced.
A stunned nation is left to wonder why and how. Now for the first time on DVD Who Killed Martin Luther King? confronts these questions for a new generation of Americans.
This award-winning documentary makes adroit use of archival footage and revealing interviews with convicted assassin James Earl Ray Martin Luther King III former FBI agents and intelligence experts deftly linking many disparate elements into a logical whole and forcing us to confront the shocking reality of a government gone wild.
5 Comments / User Reviews
Ray’s lawyers maintained he was a scapegoat similar to the way that John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is seen by conspiracy theorists. Supporters of this assertion say that Ray’s confession was given under pressure and that he had been threatened with the death penalty. They admit Ray was a thief and burglar, but claim he had no record of committing violent crimes with a weapon. However, prison records in different U.S. cities have shown that he was incarcerated on numerous occasions for charges of armed robbery. In a 2008 interview with CNN, Jerry Ray, the younger brother of James Earl Ray, claimed that James was smart and was sometimes able to get away with armed robbery. Jerry Ray said that he had assisted his brother on one such robbery. “I never been with nobody as bold as he is,” Jerry said. “He just walked in and put that gun on somebody, it was just like it’s an everyday thing.”
Those suspecting a conspiracy in the assassination point to the two successive ballistics tests which proved that a rifle similar to Ray’s Remington Gamemaster had been the murder weapon. Those tests did not implicate Ray’s specific rifle.Witnesses near King at the moment of his death said that the shot came from another location. They said that it came from behind thick shrubbery near the boarding house—which had been cut away in the days following the assassination—and not from the boarding house window. However, Ray’s fingerprints were found on various objects (a rifle, a pair of binoculars, articles of clothing, a newspaper) that were left in the bathroom where it was determined the gunfire came from. An examination of the rifle containing Ray’s fingerprints also determined that at least one shot was fired from the firearm at the time of the assassination.
Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King’ssarcophagus, located on the grounds of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia
In 1997, King’s son Dexter Scott King met with Ray, and publicly supported Ray’s efforts to obtain a new trial.
Two years later, Coretta Scott King, King’s widow, along with the rest of King’s family, won a wrongful death claim against Loyd Jowers and “other unknown co-conspirators”. Jowers claimed to have received $100,000 to arrange King’s assassination. The jury of six whites and six blacks found in favor of the King family, finding Jowers to be complicit in a conspiracy against King and that government agencies were party to the assassination. William F. Pepper represented the King family in the trial.
In 2000, the U.S. Department of Justice completed the investigation into Jowers’ claims but did not find evidence to support allegations about conspiracy. The investigation report recommended no further investigation unless some new reliable facts are presented. A sister of Jowers admitted that he had fabricated the story so he could make $300,000 from selling the story, and she in turn corroborated his story in order to get some money to pay her income tax.
In 2002, The New York Times reported that a church minister, Rev. Ronald Denton Wilson, claimed his father, Henry Clay Wilson—not James Earl Ray—assassinated King. He stated, “It wasn’t a racist thing; he thought Martin Luther King was connected with communism, and he wanted to get him out of the way.” Wilson provided no evidence to back up his claims.
King researchers David Garrow and Gerald Posner disagreed with William F. Pepper’s claims that the government killed King. In 2003, William Pepper published a book about the long investigation and trial, as well as his representation of James Earl Ray in his bid for a trial, laying out the evidence and criticizing other accounts. King’s friend and colleague, James Bevel, also disputed the argument that Ray acted alone, stating, “There is no way a ten-cent white boy could develop a plan to kill a million-dollar black man.” In 2004, Jesse Jackson stated:
The fact is there were saboteurs to disrupt the march. And within our own organization, we found a very key person who was on the government payroll. So infiltration within, saboteurs from without and the press attacks. … I will never believe that James Earl Ray had the motive, the money and the mobility to have done it himself. Our government was very involved in setting the stage for and I think the escape route for James Earl Ray.
Same thing: How did any of the possible gunmen (mafia, Army, etc) knew at what time the guy was going to walk out of his room?
I meant that Posner was hired by the CIA.
Oh, and………..Gerald Posner believes that Oswald acted alone. Clearly he was hired by the CIA. 😉
History Channel…..need I say more?