The Murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Context of the Crime
Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 as he stood on the balcony of his Memphis motel room. After a worldwide manhunt, James Earl Ray was arrested and pled guilty to the murder. But could this washed-up drifter really have evaded the long arm of the law for so long? And how could he plan such a masterful assassination and then so foolishly leave behind evidence that clearly implicated him? Was Ray truly to blame or was there a more sinister conspiracy afoot?
Two months [after Martin Luther Kings assassination], when James Earl Ray was picked up in London and charged with the killing, I accepted what the authorities said and figured justice would be served. It was many years later when I began to question the official line. This happened in 1997, when Kings son, Dexter, met face-to-face with Ray in a Tennessee prison. Ray was dying of liver disease. I read about Dexter King asking him point-blank, Did you kill my father? Ray answered him, No, I didnt. And Dexter King said, I believe you, and my family believes you. I thought, wow, if thats the case, then theres a lot more to Dr. Kings killing than meets the eye. Then, in 1999, the King family brought a wrongful-death lawsuit in a Tennessee Circuit Court. A nearly month-long trial ensued. Seventy witnesses were called. It took the jury only two and a half hours to come back with a verdict that Dr. King was assassinated by a conspiracy that included agencies of his own government.
Lets start with a little context for what happened in the early evening of April 4, 1968, when a single shot struck Dr. King as he was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Hed just come from leading a peaceful march of Memphis sanitation workers whod gone on strike. Very soon he was planning to go to Washington for the Poor Peoples Campaign, prepared to inspire massive civil disobedience and shut down the Capitol if thats what it took to put poverty on the front burner. He was also going beyond civil rights and speaking out strongly against the Vietnam War. A year to the day before his death, Dr. King called the U.S. government the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.
[ Jesse Ventura's Take ]
Ray was another "patsy," like Oswald, who had evidence planted to incriminate him while the real killer fired from behind some shrubs. The links to King's assassination trace to people in the Mob, the military and the right wing. I fault the media again here, for giving us the sensational gavel-to-gavel coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial, while ignoring matters of true national importance like the civil case brought by members of the King family.