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An Act of State: A Conspiracy In Memphis

The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. is a topic that many of us no little about. James Earl Ray was convicted by law on March 10, 1969. He died in prison on April 23rd of 1998. Ray was so disheartened with the justice system that he chose to be buried in Ireland. Was Ray guilty?

Martin Luther King’s lawyer and friend, William F. Pepper, stood by the family through it all. Pepper has authored a tell all book—An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King—which sheds light on the tragedy. Pepper conducted a thirty-year investigation into the assassination and the details are in the book.

King was in Memphis, Tennessee supporting sanitation workers that had been on a strike. King was to check in at room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, owned by a guy named Walter Bailey. Apparently King had stayed at the motel many times.

At 6:01 pm on Thursday, April 4, 1968, while he was standing on the motel’s second floor balcony, King was struck by a single .30-06 bullet fired from a Remington Model 760. King was pronounced dead at 7:05 pm.

The official side of the story:

Shortly after the shot was fired, witnesses saw James Earl Ray fleeing from a rooming house across the street from the Lorraine Motel where he was renting a room. A package was dumped close to the site that included a rifle and binoculars with Ray’s fingerprints on them. The rifle had been purchased by Ray under an alias six days before. A worldwide manhunt was triggered that culminated in the arrest of Ray at London Heathrow Airport two months later.

This is where the conspiracy begins. The King family believes that the assassination was carried out by the government. James Earl Ray could have possibly been a scapegoat.

A man named Loyd Jowers seems to be caught in the middle of this conspiracy. Jowers died from a heart attack on May 20, 2000, at the age of 73.

A civil case provides us some of the details. The case, Coretta Scott King, et al. vs. Loyd Jowers et al., Case No. 97242, was tried in the circuit court of Shelby County, Tennessee, between November 15 to December 8, 1999.

Attorney William F. Pepper, represents the King family, and in his book (An Act of State) he alleges that there was in fact a conspiracy. A conspiracy where the government and organized crime was involved in the murder.

What we didn’t know is wrapped up in this case:

After hearing no evidence from the government, and only testimony and pleadings cooperatively submitted by the plaintiffs and Jowers, the jury–six blacks and six whites—found that King had been the victim of assassination by a conspiracy involving the Memphis police as well as federal agencies.


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