Clicky
Modal close
Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: You turn to Democracy Now! for independent, ad-free daily news covering the issues you care about the most. We can only produce our daily news hour with your support. Right now, a generous donor will double your new monthly donation to Democracy Now! Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to start your monthly gift to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a few minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Donate

Jury Rules King Assassination a Conspiracy

Default content image
Listen
Media Options
Listen

Last week, a Memphis jury that found a widespread government conspiracy responsible for the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The King family filed the suit against Loyd Jowers, a retired Memphis businessman who claimed on national television six years ago that he paid someone other than James Earl Ray to kill King in Memphis in 1968. Jowers claimed he became involved at the behest of a friend who was working for a Mafia boss in New Orleans.

Ray confessed to the killing in 1969 but recanted and spent the rest of his life trying to prove his innocence. He died in prison last year.

A U.S. House committee concluded in 1978 that Ray killed King but may have had help from a small group of racists before or after the murder. The committee found no government involvement.

The Kings were represented by William Pepper, who was Ray’s lawyer and has for years claimed the assassination was the result of a vast conspiracy involving the FBI, CIA, Army, organized crime and various state and local officials. Pepper claims King was targeted because of his opposition to the Vietnam War and plans to bring thousands of poor people to Washington for a march.

The jury found Jowers was liable in King’s death and that unnamed others, including government agencies, were involved. It awarded the King family $100–the token amount requested in the suit. And the King family said the verdict justified its belief that a conspiracy was at the heart of the assassination.

Guests:

  • Rev. James Lawson, civil rights pioneer and pastor of the Holman United Methodist Church. Rev. Lawson used the principles of nonviolence to desegregate Nashville’s lunch counters during the civil rights movement, and worked with striking sanitation workers at the time of King’s assassination in Memphis in 1968. He testified at the King conspiracy trial.
  • William Pepper, former attorney for James Earl Ray, and attorney for the King family.

Related Story

Video squareStoryApr 03, 2017Silence is Not an Option: Rev. Barber on Dr. King's Historic "Beyond Vietnam" Speech 50 Years Later
The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation
Up arrowTop