Who Really Killed MLK and Why it Still Matters
Fifty years ago, on Thursday, April 4, 1968, civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Everything else you may think you know about MLK'S death is probably wrong.
According to the U.S. government and its vast disinformation complex, James Earl Ray was the one who pulled the trigger on the rifle that killed King. They say that Ray killed King with a single shot fired from his Remington rifle while King was out on a balcony on the second floor of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., where King was staying.
The problem with this official story is that it is completely and utterly false. The facts of the case show that James Earl Ray did not shoot King and King was also not killed by the rifle shot. He was murdered later, in the hospital’s emergency room, where he was taken after being shot by a government sniper.
Ray, who had left the area before the shooting, was captured and brought to trial. He eventually confessed to the killing and was sentenced on March 10, 1969. He recanted his confession but was sentenced to 99 years in prison, where he died at the age of 70.
Ray never had a chance to see the civil trial brought by the King family in 1999 that concluded with the verdict that others were responsible for King’s death, as part of a criminal conspiracy. That conspiracy included the U.S. government and the Dixie Mafia. No one has gone to prison because of that verdict.
The government coverup of the trial has been highly effective and most Americans have never heard of the trial, the evidence presented or its verdict.
The Role of Dr. William F. Pepper
So vast and deep are the lies about the assasination that for most Americans, the true story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s killing is something that even now sounds too far-fetched to be true. It is also a story so well protected that if it were not for Dr. William F. Pepper, the facts might never have come out. Even now, those facts are not well known – but they deserve to be.
William Pepper is a human rights lawyer who
defended Sirhan Sirhan in the murder of Robert F. Kennedy and eventually represented Ray as his attorney (though not in the original case in which he pled guilty). He has three major books to his credit, including An Act of State, Orders to Kill and The Plot to Kill King. That last book describes the full story of Pepper’s 40-year investigation into the railroading of Ray and the true story of the conspiracy to kill King. Pepper lives in New York City.
In the mid-1960s, Pepper was a journalist who had written extensively about the horrors of the war in Vietnam. He met King in 1967, not long after he had published a major article, “The Children of Vietnam,” in Ramparts magazine in January 1967. King, as it turns out, was a subscriber to the magazine, had read the article and was shocked by the many photographs of war-injured children that Pepper had taken. King reached out to Pepper to meet with him in February 1967. Together, they went through the extensive photograph collection and other documentation Pepper had on the children injured by the war in Vietnam.
After seeing all that, King vowed to come out and protest the war in Vietnam. He and Pepper also agreed to work together to support a third-party ticket to run against Lyndon Johnson, on peace and freedom policies. King and Dr. Benjamin Spock, most known for his book about child care, would be the candidates. They also agreed to hold a national conference on Labor Day that fall in Chicago. Pepper was to be the executive director for the event. King pledged to bring many to the event and eventually to Washington, D.C., not just for his civil rights causes but also to challenge the Vietnam War.
Like many who heard about King’s killing in 1968, Pepper was shocked that someone who had stood for non-violence and done so much was killed in such a horrendous way. He also accepted the official story of the killing that James Earl Ray was the assassin and set it aside for the time being.
About 10 years later, Pepper happened to meet with Ralph Abernathy, a close colleague of King’s and also an activist in the civil rights movement. Abernathy, who had spent considerable time talking to Ray, was bothered by some of what he had uncovered in their discussions. Since Abernathy was neither a trained interrogator nor a legal expert, he asked Pepper if he would be willing to come to the prison where Ray was being held. The purpose would be to interrogate him and possibly learn something new about the killing.
The two traveled to Brushy Mountain Penitentiary. There, they met with Ray and Mark Lane, his current lawyer. A psychiatrist was also present during the discussions that followed. Pepper spent five hours doing the interrogation.
Recalling that day, during an interview in April 2017, Pepper said: “We came away from that meeting having no doubt that he was not the shooter who killed Martin Luther King. What we didn’t know, of course, is what role he might have played and how he could have been knowingly involved in the case.”
Then there was also the issue of Ray having confessed to the crime, especially when in front of all of them in this meeting he “denied vigorously that he had shot Martin Luther King.” Ray’s response to why he confessed is that his lawyer, Percy Foreman, told him he didn’t think he had represented Ray well in the case. Foreman said that the case was running away from them and Ray was likely to be convicted. If he didn’t, as Pepper recalled from the conversation, “cop a plea and take a sentence of 99 years,” a conviction could result in Ray’s execution. Foreman went on to promise Ray he would fight for a new trial if Ray did confess.
The combined pressure of all of what Foreman said to Ray, coupled with his own feelings that the case was going badly, made Ray choose to temporarily confess to the crime.
After that meeting, Pepper made the decision to come back and visit Memphis to investigate further. That investigation and all of its follow-ups have taken over 40 years and have concluded with the uncovering of one of the most sinister government conspiracies ever to happen in the United States.
James Earl Ray Was Picked to Play the Fall Guy
J. Edgar Hoover, the unhinged and all-powerful director of the FBI, did not like King and was concerned about his rising power. Though full evidence on the case is still under seal, everything uncovered to date suggests that Hoover’s solution to King’s rising power was to arrange to have him killed.
However, just ordering a hit on King would not work. That would leave open the question of who was ultimately responsible for the killing and might lead to further investigations. So, what the government did was both to arrange for the killing and to find someone to blame for it.
According to Pepper’s analysis, Hoover investigated where to find such a person and eventually locked in on the state of Missouri as a source. He contacted the state of Missouri and asked the commissioner of
corrections there to produce a prisoner who was, as Pepper wrote in his book, “docile, passive, one who could be used … as a patsy in a killing of this sort.” The commissioner researched and came up with Ray.
Ray was a perfect choice in many ways. Born of a poor family in March 1928, he grew up in Illinois. To help the family survive, Ray’s father passed a bad check, trying to make ends meet. To avoid being caught, he took the family to Ewing, Miss., and even changed the family name to Raynes to avoid being found. When Ray grew up, he was also struggling to make enough money to live. He was eventually convicted of a burglary in California. He later had convictions for armed robbery of a taxi driver and for mail fraud for stealing money orders in Hannibal, Miss., and then forging them – all of which brought him four years at the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth. In 1959, he stole $120 in an armed robbery at a St. Louis, Miss., Kroger store. For the repeated offenses, even though they were petty crimes without violence, Ray was eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison. That prison was the Missouri State Penitentiary.
When Hoover was given Ray’s name, he sent Clive Tolson, his number two man at the bureau, to visit his friend Russell Adkins Sr. for assistance to arrange for the first step in Ray’s journey to become the alleged King assassin. That was in 1967.
The Adkins family was a major player in what was known as the Dixie Mafia. They had also worked with Hoover on a regular basis “on a number of other matters,” according to Pepper. Based on evidence later provided to Pepper by Ron Tyler Adkins, “Tolson would come [into the area to visit Adkins Sr.]; he would carry instructions from the director and he would carry money to pay off informants.”
For the trip involving Ray, Adkins Sr. took Tolson to the prison. There, they paid the warden $25,000 to arrange for Ray’s escape. With a great deal of help from the warden and others who looked the other way, Ray made his escape in a truck transporting bread from the prison bakery.
Ray was on the run after that, traveling to Chicago, Montreal, Birmingham, Alabama and both Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Along the way, he acquired a 1966 white Ford Mustang that would later become quite important. He also acquired an alias.
The alias was Eric Starvo Galt. Unlike what is often seen in movies and on television even today, the alias was based on a real person. The real Eric S. Galt was a senior executive at Union Carbide in Canada. He coordinated overseas shipments to places such as Israel, often involving highly confidential materials. For that reason, the real Galt had security clearance.
To arrange the alias, Colonel John Downie, head of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group (MIG), was brought in to help by Hoover or someone else in the U.S. government. Downie sent one of his senior officers to talk with the real Galt and explain the need for borrowing his name for a while. Money may have changed hands to make the final arrangements, but that was never proven.
The 902nd MIG had a history of unsavory and wellshielded missions. According to Pepper, it was “involved in a clandestine joint venture with Carlos Marcello’s Mafia family whereby stolen weapons for U.S. military bases, camps and arsenals were delivered to Marcello’s property, loaded onto barges and shipped to the Gulf of Houston, where they were off-loaded, repackaged and sold to right-wing forces in Latin America.” Relatively speaking, working with others on a killing of King would seem to be a relatively simple mission – if indeed the 902nd was part of that.
Someone then provided the alias to Ray to use as he made his way across the United States, into Canada, down to Mexico and then back to the United States again. It may have been arranged through a person by the name of Raul, who acted as a handler for Ray throughout much of what happened next. Raul was also the person who bought the Ford Mustang for Ray and had it registered in Ray’s alias name of Eric S. Galt.
With the protective umbrella of Eric S. Galt’s name, after the prison break, Ray was able to move about easily without being discovered by authorities looking for him. The other advantage of the alias was that if Ray had been stopped for any reason, U.S. government authorities could call attention to Galt’s security clearance to say he was involved in something secret and should not be detained.
Ray Moves to Where King Would Be Murdered
Meanwhile, King was involved in his own travels. One of those stops took him to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in early April 1968.
Ray had arrived in Memphis at the same time. He had been registered – as Galt -- into a boarding house not far from the Lorraine Motel.
While Ray was there, possibly at the urging of his handler Raul, he realized he needed to do something about a flat spare tire in the trunk of his car. Since Raul apparently had occasional needs for the car, Ray wanted to make sure that spare tire was fixed. He took
the car to a local gas station, dropped off the tire to be repaired and parked near Jim’s Grill, a local restaurant owned by Loyd Jowers.
Ray was waiting for the tire to be repaired but then realized it was going to take too long so he needed to head back out. It is unclear exactly what other coordination might have been happening to make sure he would be staying where he was, but the restaurant owner, Jowers, was later implicated as being part of the alleged conspiracies that swirled around what happened. Ray eventually drove out of the parking lot.
Ray then heard sirens of police cars, with no knowledge of why they were in the vicinity and in such large numbers. As Ray would learn later, King had been shot while Ray was waiting for the tire to be repaired. He turned right at an intersection onto a street named Vance, where two eyewitnesses spotted his car and later identified Ray as the driver of that car.
The official report said that King had been killed by a sniper staying in a boarding house located above Jim’s Grill. That was the trap that put Ray at the scene at the right time to be the perfect patsy for the killing.
The Parallel Truth of What Happened in King’s Death
While Ray was at one place, multiple sniper teams were deployed throughout the city from various government agencies. All those, along with a man named Frank Strausser, were alternates for what was a planned assassination of King. It was the federal and state government's intention that King would die that day no matter what.
Strausser was a member of the Memphis Police Department and known to be one of the best (if not the best) sharpshooters on the force. He was also identified as the primary shooter, according to Lenny B. Curtis, who was a custodian at the Memphis Police Department gun range. Strausser was also known to be a racist. On the day of the shooting, Strausser had been observed practicing with his rifle all day long. He had also been overheard to say “King is going to get his head blown off.”
As to where the rifle came from, it was apparently purchased – with a scope – by Ray himself at the urging of Raul. He handed the rifle over to Raul at 3 p.m. on April 4, the date of the killing. Ray said he never saw the rifle again.
When Strausser shot King, the bullet did not kill King but instead wounded him severely. According to Pepper, “The bullet had entered the right lower facial area around the chin, penetrated downward and severed the spinal cord in the lower neck, upper chest and back regions.” King was immediately rushed to the emergency room at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Strausser was being watched by a spotter, who was also a captain in the police force. Strausser turned over the rifle to Jowers, who ran from the scene. Meanwhile, Strausser got into a police car up the street and was taken away. A taxi driver who was a witness saw the man who had acted as a spotter but never had much of a chance to tell his story. He was killed that night by someone working for the local Dixie Mafia.
Meanwhile, the .30-06 Remington 760 Gamemaster rifle that had been used to shoot King was put in a bundle, along with nine unfired .30-06 rifle bullets inside a box. It had been left in front of a recessed doorway by the Canipe Amusement Company at 424 South Main Street, near where a white Mustang (Ray’s) had been seen passing by.
When King was taken to the ER at St. Joseph’s Hospital, he was definitely still alive, according to nurses who were present there. Another person who was also there was Dr. Breen Bland, the ER’S chief surgeon.
Bland’s presence there was no accident. He was the family doctor for the Adkins family – the same family mentioned earlier as working with Hoover’s number two man, Tolson, in running multiple clandestine missions for Hoover. It is also the same family who were deeply involved with the Dixie Mafia.
According to Ron Tyler Adkins, a boy in the family at the time, Bland had visited the family a few weeks earlier to help coordinate what would happen. The boy said he heard Bland say about King: “Please make sure he is not killed instantly by the shot. Make sure they take him to St. Joseph’s, so we can make sure he doesn’t leave there alive.”
That Strausser’s shot had missed killing King was therefore deliberate and not a miss. Once King was taken to the ER, only Bland and his trusted confidants were allowed in the room. As a surgical nurse was dismissed from the room to leave them alone with King, she overheard them gather saliva in their mouths and then spit on King together. A pillow was then grabbed and held over King’s head and face until he died.
It is possible King might have died from the wound eventually anyway, even with treatment. But the pillow and his eventual suffocation is what killed him.
Ray’s Escape and the Trial
When Ray drove away from the scene of the crime, he actually had no knowledge that King had been killed.
Nevertheless, he knew so many police swarming near where he was staying – at the boarding house – meant it was not a good place to be. He ended up driving from Memphis to Atlanta more or less non-stop. From there, he apparently went to Toronto and from there traveled to England in late May.
Unbeknownst to Ray, while he was running, local investigators – likely with some excellent government tips – had continued to look into who might have killed King. They found the bundle with the rifle and matched it to the bullet that had struck King.
A woman near the room where Ray was staying also identified the white Mustang as having been parked in front of the boarding house. The room was opened and materials inside were gathered that linked Ray to the room – as Eric S. Galt.
Ray’s fingerprints were apparently also found on the rifle that had been used to shoot King.
On June 8, 1968, Ray was caught trying to leave the United Kingdom on a false Canadian passport. It was in yet another fake name, Ramon George Sneyd. That name was flagged during Ray’s attempt to fly out because it was on a Royal Canadian Mounted Police watch list. The police then searched Ray and found that he had a second passport, with another name on it. Eventually the U.K. authorities made the appropriate contacts and quickly arranged for Ray’s extradition to Tennessee.
Ray was brought to trial and pled guilty to avoid any chance of being sentenced to death. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison (as noted earlier). He later had one more year added to his sentence, after he escaped from prison on June 10, 1977, and was recaptured three days later.
He died in 1998 from kidney disease and liver failure caused by hepatitis C.
The 1999 Civil Trial
After the trial, those who spoke with Ray said he continued to profess his innocence in the case.
There was also enough information building in what Pepper had uncovered to suggest that Ray’s story had merit – even without all the other evidence Pepper eventually accumulated in the case.
One of the more important facts that somehow did not make it into the court hearings was that Ray had virtually no skills in using weapons of any kind. As Pepper noted, “When he was in the Army, he did take rifle training [but] was mediocre at best.”
Ray also had no history of being a racist, something that had been alleged against him in trial.
There was also the issue of where Ray was when King was killed. He was a distance away, with the proof of it being that he was in a car heading away from the entire area – and far enough away from it. There were in fact statements from two people who the Memphis Police had interviewed who had seen the white Mustang peel away as Ray drove off in that right turn onto Vance. Their statements were found in the bottom of a file drawer. They had never been shared with the defense, despite that they might have helped exonerate Ray.
With all the evidence brought forward, in 1999 another trial was held in the case after Ray had died. This case was a wrongful death civil action filed by Pepper on behalf of Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s wife, and their children, at their direct urging. The case, King vs. Jowers, had only one defendant on trial, the same Loyd Jowers who was found to have been involved in so many ways in the killing, based on Pepper’s own investigations.
Because of all the time that had passed since King’s death, some key individuals involved in the case were either missing or deceased. Nevertheless, eventually a total of 70 witnesses appeared in person.
After a four-week trial, the jury adopted a verdict that Jowers and “others, including government agencies” had participated in a conspiracy to assassinate King. With the objective being to find who was guilty rather than to make money, a fine of $100 was all that was assessed by the jury against Jowers.
In commenting about this final trial, Dexter Scott King, one of Dr. King’s four children, said that the “most incredible cover-up of the century” has now been exposed. As he went on to say at the time of the jury verdict, “We know what happened. This is the period at the end of the sentence. So please, after today, we don’t want questions like ‘Do you believe James Earl Ray killed your father?’ I’ve been hearing that all my life. No, I don’t, and this is the end of it.”
Since that time, the U.S. government has refused to unseal other evidence connected with the case. It also continues to assert there was no conspiracy and that Ray was the killer. This lie continues to be promulgated by most media and academia.
The fact that the lie about MLK'S murder is so widely accepted despite substantial and credible evidence to the contrary should make us wonder how many more Americans have been murdered by the criminal entity known as the U.S. government and how it is that the cover-ups can continue for so long and be so widely believed.
How much more of what we believe to be true is a lie?
How can we trust anything government or mass media tell us?
The Plot to Kill King by William Pepper can be purchased from https://www.indiebound.org/ book/9781510702172 Following is the segment of a 1963 speech that MLK is most famous for.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today. MLK'S full speech can be downloaded from: http://www.trillions.buzz/files/mlkdream_64kb.mp3
James Earl Ray in 1955
Loyd Jowers in court. Photo may be copyrighted