King Martin Luther (Jr.)

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King Martin Luther (Jr.)

King Martin Luther (Jr.)


Like the official reports into the other assassinations of the 1960s, the government's account of the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on 4 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, is problematic because it is filled with holes. The most significant difference between other assassination conspiracy theories and those related to the death of the great civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner is that a U.S. jury in a civil court in December 1999 actually concluded that a conspiracy resulted in the death of Dr. King.


This jury, consisting of six white and six African American Memphis residents, resolved that Dr. King was murdered by a conspiracy involving a produce dealer with strong connections to the Mafia, a racist restaurant owner, and various agencies of government at the city, state, and federal levels.

James Earl Ray was never convicted in a court of law for killing Dr. King. Instead, Ray admitted guilt through a plea bargain. Ray claims he pleaded guilty in the face of threats of execution from a private attorney who took Ray's case pro bono (Hansen, 2003). Ray recanted his admission three days later, but never got a trial. A mock trial in the 1990s found Ray not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The 1999 civil lawsuit was filed by the King family against Lloyd Jowers, who once owned Jim's Grill, a restaurant only one block from the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was shot on the balcony in front of his second-floor motel room. Jim's Grill stood on the bottom floor of Bessie Brewer's rooming house, where the shot that struck Dr. King on the right side of his face was reportedly fired from a second-floor bathroom window. King's family sought $100 in actual damages from Lloyd Jowers for the wrongful death of Dr. King; more importantly, they hoped to discover the truth about the conspiracy that differed so greatly from the official story of the U.S. government. (Garrow, 1978)

The Official Story

According to the official account by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), Dr. King was killed by one shot fired from in front of him; the shot emanated from the bathroom window at the rear of a rooming house at 422 South Main Street in Memphis. The shooter was James Earl Ray, who had purchased the rifle using an alias and transported it from Birmingham, Alabama, to Memphis in order to kill Martin Luther King, Jr.

The HSCA discovered evidence that Ray did in fact buy a .243-caliber rifle and telescopic sight in Birmingham on 29 March using the alias Harvey Lowmeyer (someone who had spent time with Ray's brother in prison). Ray returned it 30 March for the more powerful .30-06 Remington Gamemaster that was used to kill King and that was found near the crime scene. Ray claimed he bought the rifle on the orders of “Raoul,” a man who Ray said he was involved with in a gun-running ...
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