The Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Mark Lane and Dick Gregory
Reviewed by Brian Francis Redman
"1. Why were only two police officers assigned to Dr. King on the 
evening of April 4, 1968?"
"2. Why was one of those officers, Redditt, removed so 
precipitously two hours before the murder?"
"3. Why were the only two black firemen [assigned to an adjacent 
fire station] removed from the scene of the murder the night 
before it occurred?"
"4. If Raoul did not provide Ray with funds as Ray claimed, where 
did Ray secure the many thousands of dollars that he expended 
from the time he escaped from the Missouri Penitentiary until his 
arrest in London?"
Once more, as in the JFK assassination, we have too many 
unanswered questions, questions that are ignored by those who 
ought to be answering them. Instead of answers, the public 
receives supercilious smiles and pats on the head from persons 
acting to be somehow better than us, we the people, of the United 
Here's an interesting fact: our old buddy Rep. Henry Gonzalez, 
courageous fighter against the Federal Reserve yet timid as a 
mouse when it comes to Whitewater, "...had been in the Dallas 
motorcade on November 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was 
assassinated. Congressman Gonzalez had harbored doubts about the 
adequacy of the findings of the Warren Commission. Later he 
stated that he was also not satisfied with the official 
explanations of the deaths of Dr. King and Senator Robert F. 
Kennedy, and the attempted assassination of Governor George 
Wallace." (It turns out that Wallace also "wasn't satisfied" as 
to the official explanation about the attempt made on his life. 
The Associated Press, ca. June 29, 1993, quoted Wallace as saying 
that he "doesn't believe the man who shot him was acting alone," 
and asking ol' Billy Jeff from Arkansas to reopen the federal 
A lot of questions. "Nine years have passed [ca. 1977] since the 
death of Dr. King. The American people have not been given the 
details about the pathological hatred that Hoover's FBI betrayed 
toward Dr. King. Neither have we been told why the black 
witnesses were officially stripped from the scene the night 
before the murder nor why the police officer in charge was 
removed on an implausible pretext just before the fatal shot was 
fired. The witness and security stripping was directed by a 
former high-ranking FBI official. Mystery surrounds the failure 
of the FBI to seek James Earl Ray until April 19th, fifteen days 
after the murder in spite of the presence of the fingerprints on 
the presumed murder rifle."
"The bullet taken from Dr. King's body was examined by an FBI 
agent whose conclusions raise more questions than they answer. 
The bullet has not yet been adequately tested. It may not have 
been fired from Ray's rifle."
"The cover-up of facts surrounding the murder, including the 
publication of news stories, false information leads to authors 
of books and magazine articles, and direct lobbying against a 
Congressional investigation by intelligence and spy organizations 
requires that we ask what it is that is so feared by so few. And 
ask as well how powerful the few must be to influence and control 
so much."
Here's another little tidbit which, by itself may not be 
overwhelming, but which when added to all the other little 
anomalies surrounding this case gives us the sum total of a 
flashing sign on a GoodYear blimp saying "...CONSPIRACY.... 
  Wayne Chastain, now a practicing lawyer in Memphis, was a 
  reporter for the Memphis *Press Scimitar*, one of the two 
  major daily newspapers at the time of the assassination of 
  Dr. King.
  After the police concluded that the shot had been fired from 
  the bathroom window in the rooming house, Chastain came 
  across an unpublished photograph in the newspaper's files. 
  Taken by an Associated Press photographer from the bathroom 
  window, it showed the Lorraine Motel balcony as the sniper 
  would have seen it if the shot had been fired from there.
  Chastain noted that the view was obscured by branches from 
  trees growing on the embankment between the rooming house and 
  the motel.
  Later that day he discussed that oddity in the case with Kay 
  Black, another reporter for the Memphis *Press Scimitar*. 
  Chastain told me that although the picture was puzzling he 
  paid little attention to it, "because at that time I believed 
  the shot had come from that window. I believed that the 
  police were right about that."
  Chastain has continued to maintain a growing file on the case 
  and has talked with many witnesses since. "Now I no longer 
  believe the shot came from there. Now I think that picture 
  and those trees take an added significance," he told me.
  Later Kay Black received a telephone call from William B. 
  Ingram, the former mayor of Memphis. Ingram had called to 
  inform Black that the city was cutting down the trees on the 
  embankment between the rooming house and the motel. She later 
  told me, "Now, I hadn't been in the rooming house looking 
  through that bathroom window but I do recall Wayne Chastain 
  having said that he didn't see how someone could shoot 
  through the trees to the motel. He said that he was puzzled 
  how a clear shot could have been fired because he didn't see 
  how you could see through the branches."
  Ms. Black determined that the city of Memphis had arranged 
  for the trees to be cut down and had ordered the city 
  sanitation department to remove them. She said that Ingram 
  had called her in the morning. She reported the information 
  to her desk and that afternoon she visited the murder scene. 
  "And those trees were down. The screen was gone. There was 
  just no way any longer to know if that shot could have been 
Authorities investigating the assassination relied on two dubious 
witnesses, Mrs. Bessie Brewer and Charles Q. Stephens, to place 
James Earl Ray in the nearby rooming house between 3:00 and 3:10 
p.m. Yet "Mrs. Brewer consistently refused to identify Ray" as 
the man to whom she had rented a room there. The other witness, 
Stephens, "did not make a positive identification of Ray." 
Furthermore, Stephens had "a severe drinking problem. Apparently 
he was drunk when the shot that killed Dr. King was fired." His 
wife told co-author Lane that "Charlie [Stephens] didn't see 
anything. He couldn't have. He was on the bed trying to sleep one 
Stephens wife, Grace, was a third witness. But she was silenced. 
She heard the shot, then, as she recalls, "Right after the shot a 
man left the bathroom and went down the hall and down the steps 
to Main Street. I saw the man as he passed the door of my room. 
My guess of this man's age was in his fifties. This man was not 
quite as tall as I am. He was small-boned built." According to 
Grace Stephens, this man had "salt and pepper colored hair."
"At last the Memphis authorities apparently had uncovered a 
reliable witness. Yet when Ray was arrested her statement was 
inconvenient. Ray was taller than average and Mrs. Stephens had 
described a man approximately five feet, five inches tall. Ray 
was well-built and muscular and she described a small-boned man. 
Ray was in his thirties and she described a man twenty years 
So how was she silenced? "Grace Stephens was illegally taken from 
her home by other Memphis authorities and placed in a mental 
institution... After Mrs. Stephens was illegally placed in the 
mental institution, the Memphis prosecutors removed her records 
from the hospital, according to her lawyer, C. M. Murphy."
"Murphy also charged that his client had no history of mental 
illness and that she was able to care for herself. He said that 
the Memphis prosecuting attorneys committed her to safeguard 
their case against Ray."
"In 1970, two years after Mrs. Stephens was committed, Murphy 
brought an action for her release. A reporter for the *Washington 
Post* who attended the hearing said that Mrs. Stephens, 'was 
heavily sedated' and that she 'stared blankly.' He reported as 
well that 'attorneys say that ordinarily she is bright, 
articulate, and reads a great deal and that she completed three 
years of college.'"
Grace Stephens was not released and "remains at the institution 
now [ca. 1977]."
"Mrs. Stephens has not recanted. When she was visited at the 
institution where she is confined she was asked if she remembers 
what she saw on April 4, 1968. She answered with a sad smile, 'Oh 
yes. I remember what I saw and who I saw run away. That's why I'm 
here, you know.'"
So we now near the federally-designated MLK HolyDay. As Dave 
Emory has sadly pointed out:
  ...when you allow a man to be murdered with impunity, when 
  you allow a man to take a bullet, [when] you will not show 
  *any* substantive interest in who did the killing -- when the 
  people who did the killing are a matter of public record! 
  (And we *know* who did it.) -- it's grotesque. I think it's 
  really grotesque to name a holiday after somebody, celebrate 
  a holiday after somebody, when you can't, when you *won't*, 
  look into someone's murder.
It is like that line from I think it was T.S. Eliot: "And death 
walks, grinning, in the parade." The MLK HolyDay is that day when 
the *federales* display their trophy, Martin Luther King's head 
mounted on 24-hours in time. As Frederick Tupper Sausee writes in 
the afterword of *Tennessee Waltz* by James Earl Ray: "It is not 
King's life that they celebrate, but his death. King's death is 
their handiwork, and they display it proudly."