It was a glorious April 4 th evening as Martin Luther King and hundreds of followers were gathering for a civil rights march. Many cheered on as the civil rights leader graciously out step on the second floor balcony of the Motel Lorraine. Roaring cheers rose from the crowd rose up as Martin Luther King stand there waving his arm with his heart warming smile waiting for the uprising taper off so he can continue with his speech. When suddenly a piercing blast broke the noise and the crowd’s cheerful spirit died. A cold chill went through all who were present fore in the back of their minds there was no doubt that their King had just been shot. Just what exactly happened on April 4 th, 1968 at 6: 01 PM? Just how many sides does this story have? The events surrounding Martin Luther King’s death remain controversial to this day, after more than 30 years after the fact.
The accepted story is a man named Ray was the assassin however, there are many contradictions to that conclusion. One must come to realize the accepted story is wrong, a cover up has deceived the public for over 30 years, James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King; Martin Luther King was assassinated by a government conspiracy. To clarify the fact James Earl Ray is not an assassin one must look toward his reputation. James Earl Ray was born into a poor family and was the first of nine children.
Being that some of his childhood was during the depression he probably was the type to fight for his own well being. In January of 1946 Ray joined the army. (Clarke 243) While in the army Ray sold cigarettes, drank, fought, and he was eventually discharged. From 1949-1959 Ray did many robberies and when, in 1959, he was finally caught he was sentenced to 20 years in prison (Clarke 244) Ray Later attempted escape in 1960, in 1966, and was successful on April 23 rd, 1967. (Clarke 245) Ray, during this time never showed any serious acts of threatening or hurting anyone.
(Clarke 244) So why would Ray suddenly turn into assassin and kill someone who has a slim effect on him? Perhaps the reason authorities were so irritated by Martin Luther King’s protests would be on the account of the fact he does nothing wrong. “His efforts successfully merged the anti-Vietnam war movement and the civil rights movement, and the awful reality of the black situation in America could no longer be hidden behind the white curtain.” (Overbeck 11/17/00) King got many of the blacks to boycott the buses, go on civil rights marches, and to vote, which brought about a change in respect and right for blacks. (Lindop 83) This got authorities very annoyed at King because they did not want change and King protest did it constitutionally legal. As a result police started arresting King for trivial reasons such as doing 30 mph in a 25 zone, sitting in white places, civil rights marches, boycotting the busses etcetera’s.
In all he went to jail over 30 times. (Lindop 82) It didn’t stop there the FBI or at least the head of the FBI, Jay Edgar Hoover, even hated King. “Nobody hated Martin Luther King more than J. Edgar Hoover” (Clarke 255) “King was well aware that the FBI was, as he put it, ‘out to break me.’ ” (Melanson 134) That was obvious being that the FBI used many man-hours in harassing King. King life was threatened by the FBI about 50 times and harassed enough to literally have entire books on the subject.
A primary example of this is when the FBI dubbed a phony tape of King with another women and used to blackmail King into committing suicide. In January of 1968, three months before the assassination, an internal memo was distributed by Hoover calling for, “the Removal of King from the national scene.” After all the harassment King endured he still refused to retaliate in any illegal acts which continued to infuriate authorities. Conspicuously, the aliases James Earl Ray had allegedly used resembled real people who undoubtedly play a role in the conspiracy of the assassination. The four aliases Ray used were Eric Starvo Galt, Paul Bridgeman, Ramon George Sneyd, and John Willard.
(Melanson 6) The alias Eric Starvo Galt resembled a man named Eric St. Vincent Galt who lived in Toronto, he was the secretary of the Gun Viking Club, a skilled marksman, and he was the only Eric S. Galt who lived in Canada at that time. His unique way signing his name would be to abbreviate his middle name and make circles out of the periods, which would look something like, Eric StoVo Galt. Stovo is strikingly similar to Starvo. Paul Bridgeman whose real name is Paul Bridgeman is also is located in Toronto.
George Raymond Sneyd is a policeman in the Toronto area, and John Willard is a resident in the Toronto area as well. (Melanson 8) What’s even more conspicuous than the fact the all-live in Toronto is the fact all their physical appearances are very similar, as seen in figure 1; dark brown hair, medium build and just shy of six feet. (Melanson 162-163) Ray and Galt however, were the most similar. Ray, in his early forties, ‘5-10″, 170 lbs. , dark brown hair, and a scar on his forehead and his right arm, and Galt, in his mid-fifties, looked in his forties, ‘5-11″, 160 lbs. , dark brown hair, and a scar on his right arm and his fore head.
(Melanson 7-8) For a while Galt was a suspect in the case; the white Mustang which was the suspected get away car and the hotel room from which the assassin thought to have fired out of were both rented under the name Eric S. Galt. (Melanson 135) Keep in mind the fact Galt was also a skilled marksman. All the clues were leading to Galt, but literally days before Galt was to be questioned the FBI identifies Ray’s fingerprints on the suspected murder weapon.
Galt was never once question by police to this day. What does it all mean? There is no supporting evidence to show Ray ever been to Toronto nor is it likely. But for Ray to sneak in there unnoticed, pick up four names, people which look much like himself, sneak out and attempt to frame one of them. It’s simply “beyond the capacities of a small time loser like Ray.” (Melanson 134) Eric S. Galt was undoubtedly a part of the conspiracy weather he knew he was or not. In short the security at the Motel Lorraine the day of the assassination was lousy at best and it was all thanks to some mysterious last minute changes.
First off, a man claiming to be one of King’s associates changed King’s hotel reservation from the first floor, to the second floor by the balcony where it was wide open and any sniper to shoot at him. That mysterious man did not fit any description of King’s friends or associates. Next, aside from the fact the hotel was located in an unhealthy part of Memphis King’s security was reduced from eight to two officers. However, just hours before the assassination one of the two officers, who happened to be black, was sent home because of mysterious threats to his life. This left one officer on the immediate scene. Across the street from the motel the only two firefighters, who were also black, running the fire station across the street from the motel were reassigned to another fire station the day of the assassination.
The next day however, they resumed their normal places. Coincidence or conspiracy? One thing is for certain, somebody must have decided to make these changes for some reason. (Overbeck 11/17/00) There is no way Ray could have shot King from where he allegedly was positioned. A former FBI ballistic expert testified claiming the most skilled marksman could not have shot King from where he was positioned. (Overbeck 11/17/00) Ray however, “had no documented expertise as a marksman and had never anyone other than himself-accidentally, in the foot.” (Castaneda 3) In addition a picture taken in the place Ray had allegedly been showed tree limbs obstructing the view of the Lorraine Motel. However, the investigators could not draw any conclusions because when they went to reexamine the area the obstructing tree limbs were found cut down.
In addition the bullet and the suspected murder weapon were never conclusively match. (Overbeck 11/17/00) Most of the witness s’ claims contradict the fact Ray was in the hotel at the time of the assassination. The only witness who claimed to have seen Ray leaving the hotel bathroom was a man named Charles Stephens. Stephens however, was extremely intoxicated at the time. The first two descriptions Stephens gave didn’t even resemble Ray’s skin color. Stephens admitted that he did not get a good look at the alleged assassin.
It was not until the FBI paid $30, 000 in bar tabs for Stephens that he fingered Ray as the hit man. His wife Grace Stephens had a good look at the assassin and was sure it was not Ray. She was later illegally committed to a mental hospital And was sure to stay there for a while because her hospital records, proving that she was actually sane, had vanished. The third witness who saw the assassin was the owner of the hotel, Bessie Brewer, she refused to identify Ray.
Other witnesses outside, such as King’s chauffeur, claimed the shot came from the ground level. Most claim the assassin was gone within two minutes of the shot. All, except for Charles Stephens, had not seen Ray at the scene of the crime. (Overbeck 11/17/00) Perhaps the most puzzling issues of all is how did James Earl Ray escape? “Ray would have had to fire the shot that killed King from his contorted position in the bathroom, exit the sniper’s nest, go to his room to collect his belongings and wrap and tie it all in a bundle, leave his room, run down the stairs and out of the boarding house, stash the bundle next door, and then get away from the scene unnoticed — all within two minutes!” (Overbeck 11/17/00) Shortly after Ray allegedly escaped in the white Mustang there was a hoax police radio call describing a chase with a white Mustang going Northeast (Overbeck 11/17/00) The white Mustang was really moving in a Southwest direction. After Ray allegedly escaped over the next two months Ray spent $25, 000, a quantity which Ray most definitely did not have readily available. Police appended Ray on June 6 th, 1968.
Jesse Jackson described Ray’s escape best when he stated, “James Earl Ray did not have the money, mobility, and the motivation to carry this act alone.” (King Family Rebukes Report 3) Some people might ponder the question if Ray is so innocent then why did he plead guilty? The issue is more complex than just a simple plea. After he was apprehended, he was imprisoned in a cell that was brightly-lit twenty-four hours a day, under constant surveillance by guards, cameras, and microphones. Being under these conditions were physically and mentally fatiguing. Furthermore Ray’s attorney Art Hanes was constantly pressuring Ray to plead guilty.
Ray refused and as a result contracted Percy Foreman. Foreman after talking to Art Hanes also told Ray to plead guilty. Foreman even threatened to throw the trial saying he could not guarantee his best efforts for Ray defense. Ray knew the judge wouldn’t let him hire a new defense counsel and so he pleaded guilty and sentenced to 99 years in prison. (Overbeck 11/17/00) -“The plea was unexpected because Ray had the nationally known criminal lawyer Percy Foreman representing him, and the expectation was that there would be a well-publicized trial rather than a brief in which Ray admitted his guilt and was sentenced.” (Clarke 240) Ray tried to renounce the plea three days later however. The judge who considered the motion suddenly died of a heart attack.
His head was found lying in the stack of papers Ray had filed. Under Tennessee law the motion should have been automatically granted however, it was not. After that, every petition Ray ever filed was denied. (Overbeck 11/17/00) During Ray’s remaining days, Ray had managed to meet the King family. He sat down with Dexter Scott King and Ray told his part of the story. After it was all said and done Dexter Scott King said, “Having met James Earl Ray, I believe and my family believes this man is innocent.” Since that day the King family has tried to prove it was a conspiracy.
(Overbeck 11/17/00) In December of 1999, however, “a civil court jury in Memphis righteously determined that the April 4, 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , was a widespread government conspiracy.” (Carter 1) The facts are clear and conclusive; the condemnation of James Earl Ray has been a cover up that has deceived the public for over 30 years, James Earl Ray is an innocent man who was caught in the web of a government conspiracy. Who was responsible for pulling the trigger on that gloomy evening of April 4 th, 1968? How many people were involved? Was it coincidence or conspiracy? Perhaps time has distorted some details however, the recorded facts prove James Earls Ray’s innocents and point to a conspiracy. Bibliography “King Family Rebukes Report That Says James Earl Ray Acted Alone in King’s Death” Jet, Vol.
98 Issue 3, p. 4. Ebsco. Online.
June 26, 2000 Carter, Richard. “Conspiracy to Kill Dr. King and Other Outrages.” New York Amsterdam News, Vol. 91 Issue 14, p.
10. Ebsco. Online. April 6, 2000 Castaneda, Ruben. “A Conspiracy of Silence?” American Journalism Review, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p 60.
Ebsco. Online. Mar 2000 Clarke, James W. , American Assassins: The Dark Side of Politics. Princeton; Princeton Press, New Jersey.
1985 Lindop, Edmund, Assassinations that Shock America. Franklin Watts: New York. 1992 Melanson, Philip H. , The Murk in Conspiracy; An Investigation into the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dover Press, New York: 1989 Overbeck, Charles.
“The Assassination of Dr. Marti Luther King, Jr. : An Overview.” 1996. Online. Available web 17 Nov. 2000 Raga van, Chita.
“A Curious Conspiracy” U. S. News and World Report, Vol. 127 Issue 24, p. 30. Ebsco.
Online. Dec. 20, 1999 I. Introduction A) Anecdote- Day of the assassination) General Statements C) One must come to realize the accepted story is wrong, a cover up has deceived the public for over 30 years, James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King; Martin Luther King was assassinated by a government conspiracy. II. James Earl RayA) Childhood 1) Very Poor (Clarke 243) 2) First of 9 children (Clarke 243) B) Years from the army to the assassination 1) Joined Army Jan.
1946 (Clarke 244) 2) He fought, drank, and Sold cigarettes (Clarke 244) 3) Discharged (Clarke 244) 4) From 1949-1959 he did robberies (Clarke 244) 5) 1959 got 20 years in prison (Clarke 245) 6) Attempted escape, 1960, 1966 and succeeded 4/23/1967 (Clarke 245) 7) He never seriously hurt or threatened anyone until the assassination (Clarke 244) III. Martin Luther King) Protesting 1) “His efforts successfully merged the anti-Vietnam war movement and the civil rights movement, and the awful reality of the black situation in America could no longer be hidden behind the white curtain.” (Overbeck 11/17/00) 2) Boycotting busses (Lindop 82) 3) Civil rights marches 4) Got blacks to vote (Lindop 83) B) King and the Law 1) 1000 person march 250 arrested (Lindop 82) 2) arrested for doing 30 mph in a 25 zone (Lindop 82) 3) sat in white places with other protesters- was put in a labor camp for 4 months (Lindop 86) 4) boycotted to buses- charged with boycotting (Lindop 82) 5) in all he went to jail over 30 times (Lindop 82) C) King and the FBI 1) “Nobody hated Martin Luther King more than J. Edgar Hoover” (Clarke 255) 2) “King was well aware that the FBI was, as he put it, ‘out to break me.’ ” (Melanson 134) 3) Threats on King (Overbeck 11/17/00) a) King has been threatened about 50 times by the Fbi) The FBI’s dubbed tape c) Entire books have been written on the FBI’s harassment on King 4) In January of 1968 Hoover distributed an internal memo calling for “the removal of King from the national scene ” III. Ray’s Aliases) Ray’s Aliases vs. Who They Are 1) Eric Starvo Galt a) Real name: Eric St.
Vincent Galt (Melanson 8) b) Lives in Toronto (Melanson 7) c) Secretary of the Gun Viking Club (Melanson 8) d) Only Eric S. Galt in Canada (Melanson 8) e) Signed his name periods as circles: Eric StoVo Galt (Melanson 7) 2) Paul Bridgeman a) Real name: Paul Bridgeman (Melanson 8) b) Lives in Toronto (Melanson 7) c) Works for the board of education (Melanson 8) 3) Ramon George Sneyd a) Real name: Ramon George Sneyd (Melanson 8) b) Lives in Toronto (Melanson 7) c) He is a policeman (Melanson 9) 4) John Willard a) Real name: John Willard (Melanson 9) b) Lives in Toronto (Melanson 7) B) Physical Appearances 1) James Earl Ray (Melanson 7-8) a) Age: around 40 b) Height: ‘5-10″c) Weight: 170 lbs. d) Hair color: dark brown e) Scar on his forehead and his arm 2) Eric St. Vincent Galt (Melanson 8) a) Age: 54 (looked 40’s) b) Height: ‘5-11″c) Weight: 160 lbs. d) Hair color: dark brown e) Scar on his forehead and his arm 3) Description of Suspect at the time of the Assassination (Melanson 9) a) Age: 30- 32 b) Height: ‘5-10″ c) dark sandy hair d) medium build e) Black suit, white shirt C) Picture (Fig 1) (Melanson 162-163) D) Evidence that pointed to Galt (Melanson 135) 1) a white mustang (the suspected getaway car) was rented under the name of Eric S.
Galt 2) hotel room under the name of Eric S. Galt 3) Eric S. Galt was a skilled marksman E) Significance 1) It was unlikely Ray had ever been to Toronto (Melanson 134) 2) “This was beyond the capacities of a small time loser like Ray, (Melanson 134) 3) It was a conspiracy and Galt was in on i tIV. Security at the Motel Lorraine (Overbeck 11/17/00) A) A man changed King’s reservation from the first floor to the second floor 1) second floor balcony provided no cover from snipers 2) the man’s description didn’t match any of King’s friends or associates) The hotel was in an unhealthy part of the to wnC) The number of officers around King was reduced from 8 to 2 officers) One of the two officers who was black was sent home because of mysterious threats on his life hours before the assassination) The only two firefighters in the station across the Motel, who were black, were reassigned to a different station the day of the assassination, and the day after put back. The Assassin (Overbeck 11/17/00) A) It couldn’t have been Ray 1) A former FBI ballistics expert testified claiming the most skilled marksman couldn’t have shot King from where was 2) A picture taken from what was believed to be Ray’s position and trees were found to block the Motel Lorraine, but when it was investigated further the limbs obstructing the view were cut B) The bullet recovered from King was never conclusively matched to the weapon Ray had VI.
Witnesses (Overbeck 11/17/00) A) Charles Stephens 1) He was intoxicated at the time 2) His descriptions were way off until the FBI paid $30, 000 in beer tabs for him 3) Became the preferred witness B) Grace Stephens 1) Had a good look at the assassin and was sure it wasn’t Ray 2) She was later illegally committed to a mental hospital 3) Her hospital records were then removed C) Bessie Brewer 1) Hotel Owner 2) Refused to identify Ray as the man she saw E) King’s Chauffeur claimed the shot came from the ground as did others-picture (Fig. 2) F) According to witnesses the assassin was gone with in two minutes VII. Ray’s Amazing Escape (Overbeck 11/17/00) A) “Ray would have had to fire the shot that killed King from his contorted position in the bathroom, exit the sniper’s nest, go to his room to collect his belongings and wrap and tie it all in a bundle, leave his room, run down the stairs and out of the boarding house, stash the bundle next door, and then get away from the scene unnoticed — all within two minutes!” (web) B) Shortly after Ray allegedly escaped in the white Mustang and soon after, police radios were interrupted by a hoax call for a car chase going Northeast while the White Mustang was going southwest. C) Ray left the country 1) He spent $25, 000 he never had before 2) The police apprehended him at a Britain airport on 6/8/1968 VIII. Ray’s Guilty Plea (Overbeck 11/17/00) A) Ray was put into a specially designed jail cell 1) Brightly lit 24 hours a day TV cameras, audio microphones, and guards around the clock 2) These conditions over 8 months were mentally and physically fatiguing B) Ray’s Attorneys 1) Art Hanes kept Ray under pressure to plea guilty 2) Ray got a new attorney, Percy Foreman 3) Foreman after talking to Hanes told Ray to plea guilty a) Foreman threatened Ray saying he couldn’t guarantee his best efforts for his defense b) Ray knew the courts would refuse to appoint a new counsel C) Ray plead guilty-“The plea was unexpected because Ray had the nationally known criminal lawyer Percy Foreman representing him, and the expectation was that there would be a well-publicized trial rather than a brief in which Ray admitted his guilt and was sentenced.” (Clark 240) D) Three days after his plea Ray hire a new attorney and filed a motion to renounce the plea E) When the judge was considering this motion 1) He literally dropped dead of a heart attack 2) His head was found in the papers Ray had filed F) Under the circumstances, according to Tennessee law, the motion should have been granted G) Every petition Ray filed after that was denied IX.
Ray Confronting the King Family (Overbeck 11/17/00) A) After Dexter Scott King heard Ray’s side to the story he said’ “Having met with James Earl Ray, I believe and my family believes this man is innocent” B) To this day the King tries to prove there was a conspiracy. Conclusion A) The condemnation of James Earl Ray has been a cover up has deceived the public for over 30 years, James Earl Ray is an innocent man who was caught in the web of a government conspiracy. B) Refer back to anecdote D) Concluding statement.