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View Full Version : Trial Transcript of Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination Conspiracy Trial



Magda Hassan
03-24-2010, 12:12 AM
This trial was completely blacked out by the MSM. The findings are astounding and newsworthy by any standard but because it implicates the underlying structure of US power it was untouchable. Read it and weep.
http://www.thekingcenter.org/KingCenter/Transcript_trial_info.aspx
CORETTA SCOTT KING, et al,
Plaintiffs,
Vs. Case No. 97242
LOYD JOWERS, et al,
Defendants.
_______________________________________________

EXCERPT OF PROCEEDINGS
December 8th, 1999
_______________________________________________

Before the Honorable James E. Swearengen,
Division 4, judge presiding.
_______________________________________________

DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI, RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD COURT REPORTERS
Suite 2200, One Commerce Square
21 Memphis, Tennessee 38103

(901) 529-1999

APPEARANCES -

For the Plaintiff:

DR. WILLIAM PEPPER
Attorney at Law
New York City, New York

For the Defendant:

MR. LEWIS GARRISON
attorney at Law
Memphis, Tennessee

Court Reported by:

MR. BRIAN F. DOMINSKI

Certificate of Merit
Registered Professional Reporter
Daniel, Dillinger, Dominski, Richberger & Weatherford 22nd Floor
One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103

PROCEEDINGS

(9:50 A.M.)

(Jury in.)

THE COURT: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We've got two more depositions that we're going to -- no. As I promised you, we're going into the arguments of counsel, and then you'll get your instructions.
As I indicated to you earlier, the plaintiff would give his summary first. The defendant then would give his version, and then the plaintiff is allowed an opportunity to respond to the defendant's arguments.
Mr. Pepper, you may proceed.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Let me right at the out set thank you for your attention throughout these proceedings, long and sometimes tedious though they may have been. We're very grateful for your sitting here and listening to the variety of evidence that you have heard.
Your Honor will charge you on the various aspects of evidence that you heard. You know you've heard a great deal of testimony here. You also have available to you a great number of exhibits that are attached to the testimony that you have heard.
We urge you to at any point require these exhibits to be brought to you so that you can read them and consider them at length. All the testimony, the various levels of credibility that you describe, his Honor will charge you with that, but it is really down to you at the end of the day as to how much you believe the various people who sat in that chair there and who told you things.
The media is very quick and prompt to say and yell out that such and such is hearsay, second-hand accounts, third-hand accounts. But the media is unable to tell you, ever course, what the law is with respect to hearsay evidence.
They think because something is hearsay, a person is saying what another person has said, that it is not to be regarded, it is to be dismissed. In actual fact, ladies and gentlemen, if a witness is giving you hearsay but the hearsay statement is from a person who is speaking against his own interest, saying something that could put him in jail in the case of the defendant here, could have him indicted, then that is to be taken very seriously. It is admissible because of that exception. There are a range of other exceptions why you can consider hearsay.
Now, it is my job, my role here this morning, to summarize the plaintiffs' case. It is a case that is divided really into nine sections. In the course of presenting that case to you, we've taken witnesses out of order simply because they have come from various parts of the country and the world.
We've had problems with schedules. So at one time you would hear a witness talking to you about a rifle, a murder weapon in evidence, then another time you would hear a witness talking about a crime scene, and we had already gone over that. So it is difficult for you sometimes perhaps to put all those pieces together in an orderly fashion. That's really what I have to do. I have to try to do that. I have to set it out so that you can see how this case folds together. I'm going to try to work with you on that this morning and try to help you understand it as best I can. Plaintiffs' case began with a section that dealt with the background, the background of all of this, why you are here, why Martin King was assassinated, why he came to Memphis before he was assassinated. So it dealt with the background.
Then we moved with a second area concerned which was local conspiracy we called it, what was happening here in Memphis, what events were going on that constituted conspiracy, legally civil conspiracy under the law. Because that's really what we are asking you to find is that there was a conspiracy here.
Thirdly, we dealt with the crime scene. What was this crime scene all about. Where was the crime scene? What happened there?
Fourthly, we went into the rifle. This is the murder weapon. We discussed the murder weapon and asked you to consider all the evidence with respect to the murder weapon. We move next to a shadowy figure called Raoul. Who is this man who was claimed to have been James Earl Ray's controller and the role that he played in this case?
Then we move beyond that to what we have called a broader conspiracy beyond Memphis that reached into the higher levels of the government of the United States and some of its agents and officials. We moved through that with you. We went beyond that, then, into really what amounts to a cover up. What was the cover-up activity and why was it important and why have these events been shielded
from public view so that only you, you twelve, fourteen, here day after day, and his Honor, alone perhaps in this broad land, have heard this evidence. How could that be, a case as important as this? How could that be? But it has been the case. Then we considered the defendant's admissions, the defendant -- the named defendant in this case, his actual admissions, against his own interest and what is in evidence with respect to that.
We moved lastly really to the area of damages. And there was a fair amount of testimony on damages from the members of the family with respect to what they were looking for and what their perspective was in terms of any kind of remuneration for the loss that they have suffered.
So that's the outline. Now let's look at each of those sections, if we can.
First the background. Martin King, as you know, for many years was a Baptist preacher in the southern part of this country, and he was thrust into leadership of the civil rights movement at a historic moment in the civil rights movement and social change movement in this part of the country. That's where he was. That's where he has been locked in time, locked in a media image, locked as an icon in the brains of the people of this country.
But Martin King had moved well beyond that. When he was awarded the Noble Peace Prize he became in the mid-1960's an international figure, a person of serious stature whose voice, his opinions, on other issues than just the plight of black people in the South became very significant world-wide. He commanded world-wide attention as few had before him. As a successor, if you will, to Mahatmas Gandhi in terms of the movement for social change through civil disobedience. So that's where he was moving. Then in 1967, April 4, 1967, one year to the day before he was killed, he delivered the momentous speech at Riverside Church in New York where he opposed the war.
Now, he thought carefully about this war. He had been inclined to oppose it for quite a long period of time. Prior to that, two, three years prior to that he had uneasy feelings.
I remember vividly, I was a journalist in Vietnam, when I came back he asked to meet with me, and when I opened my files to him, which were devastating in terms of the effects upon the civilian population of that country, he unashamedly wept.
I knew at that point really that the die was cast. This was in February of 1967. He was definitely going to oppose that war with every strength, every fiber in his body. And he did so. He opposed it. And from the date of the Riverside speech to the date he was killed, he never wavered in that opposition. Now, what does that mean? Is he an enemy of the State? The State regarded him as an enemy because he opposed it. But what does it really mean, his opposition? I put it to you that his opposition to that war had little to do with ideology, with capitalism, with democracy. It had to do with money. It had to do with huge amounts of money that that war was generating to large multinational corporations that were based in the United States, corporations that were based in the United States.
When Martin King opposed the war, when he rallied people to oppose the war, he was threatening the bottom lines of some of the largest defense contractors in this country. This was about money. When he threatened to bring that war to a close through massive popular opposition, he was threatening the bottom lines of some of the largest construction companies, one of which was in the State of Texas, that patronized the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson and had the major construction contracts at Cam Ran Bay in Vietnam. This is what Martin King was challenging. He was challenging the weapons industry, the hardware, the armament industries, that all would lose as a result of the end of the war.
Forget about democracy, forget about any ideology. This opposition to Martin King, this growing enmity to him, was based on money and the loss of money. The second aspect of his work that also dealt with money that caused a great deal of consternation in the circles of power in this land had to do with his commitment to take a massive group of people to Washington and there to encamp them in the shadow of the Washington memorial for as long as it took. For as long as it took, they would make daily trips to the halls of Congress and they would try to compel the Congress to act, as they had previously acted in terms of civil rights legislation, now to act in terms of social legislation.
Now, he begin to talk about a redistribution of wealth, in this the wealthiest country in the world that had such a large group of poor people, of people living then and now, by the way, in poverty.
That problem had to be addressed. And it wasn't a black-and-white problem. This was a problem that dealt with Hispanics, and it dealt with poor whites as well. That is what he was taking on. That's what he was challenging.
The powers in this land believed he would not be successful. Why did they believe that? They believed that because they knew that the decision-making processes in the United States had by that point in time, and today it is much worse in my view, but by that point in time had so consolidated power that they were the representatives, the foot soldiers, of the economic -- the very economic interests who were going to suffer as a result of these times of changes. So the very powerful lobbying forces that put their people in the halls of Congress and indeed in the White House itself and controlled them, paid and bought them and controlled them, were certainly not going to agree to the type of social legislation that Martin King and his mass of humanity were going to require.
So there was a fear. What happens when they are frustrated? What happens when they don't get any satisfaction? What would happen? They feared, the military feared, that there would be a violent rebellion in the nation's capital. And they didn't have the troops that could contain half a million angry poor alienated Americans. They didn't have the troops. Westmoreland wanted another two hundred thousand in Vietnam. They didn't have them to give to him. They didn't have them. They were afraid that mob would overrun the capital. They were afraid that what Mr. Jefferson had urged many, many times, that the body politic can only be cleansed by a revolution every twenty years.
They were afraid that Mr. Jefferson would be listened to and that that revolution would take place. Because of that, those factors, Martin King was not going to be allowed, not going to be allowed to bring that group of people to Washington. So that's the reason for the hostility. He saw Memphis as part and parcel of the overall problem, as a microcosm. He saw the plight of the garbage workers here as being symptomatic of the pervasive sickness of American society.
So he said if we turn our backs on these ones, how can we go on behalf of the broad national interests? These ones need us now, let's start the Poor People's Campaign here, which is what he did.
So he came to Memphis and he was here on the 17th and 18th of March and he spoke and he returned again on the 28th of March and the march turned nasty. Indications are there that there were provocateurs, that it was broken up deliberately, that he was discredited because of that, and he had to then return. And so he did plan to come back. There was opposition within his own organization. But he said, no, we're going to do this and we're going to lead a peaceful march and this is the way we're going to launch this campaign, and so he came back to Memphis. After the 28th he came back on the 3rd of April.
Now we move to the local conspiracy that related to the death of Martin Luther King. You've heard evidence of a very reputable forty-year-in-business store owner sit up there and tell you that he always bought -- every Thursday he went to Frank Liberto's warehouse, that was his last stop before he went back to Somerville, and on that Thursday, April 4, he heard the owner of that place take the telephone and scream into it, "Shoot the son-of-a-bitch when he comes on the balcony," amongst other things. That is the first indication of the involvement of a Mr. Frank Liberto, which information was given to the police and the FBI and forgotten about.
Then you've heard two other independent witnesses testify at different ends of the trial, one called as a witness by the defense, Mrs. Lavada Addison, who had this conversation with Mr. Liberto in her cafe when Liberto leaned over the table at a time when the Select Committee hearings were on, apparently something came on the television, and whispered to Mrs. Addison, "I arranged have Martin Luther King killed."
She jumped back and was shocked by this. So. Liberto puts himself in it against his own interest, mind you. He has said that. You are entitled to believe that. Then comes Mrs. Lavada Addison's son Nathan, who confronts Liberto, and Liberto again confirms the same thing to him. So we see now Mr. Frank Liberto's involvement in this whole scenario.
Then we have from the defendant himself in sessions that are before you and you've heard testimony from Ambassador Young and Mr. King about how he was approached and he was asked to assist or become involved in this assassination again by Mr. Liberto and how he was told that he would be visited by a man called Raoul, he would first receive some money, be visited by a man called Raoul, he would pass the money to Raoul, he would receive a gun, that he was be asked to participate in this endeavor and he should not worry because there would be no police around, the police would not be there.
We've heard him say that in fact he did these things and that he received the gun after the shooting. He said he received the gun right at his back door. That's as far as he went in his admissions. Of course, he also said he didn't know what was going on. Neither Ambassador Young nor Mr. King believed him in that respect, that he didn't know what was going on.
Now, why would anyone say this? Is this something new? No. You heard testimony from witnesses who indicated that Mr. Jowers had said this to them years ago, as much as twenty years ago he had said this, he had said that he knew how Martin Luther King was killed. He had indicated to them that he didn't do it but he knew how it was done, and in one case he actually told the same story way back then that he is telling now. So this is not some afterthought from Mr. Jowers to try to make a movie or become -- have notoriety or something like that. This is a consistent story that has been around for a long time, and other witnesses from previous times have confirmed it.
So other indications of the local conspiracy, what are they? You've heard about the removal of Detective Redditt, who was a police officer on surveillance duty on the afternoon. He was removed within an hour of the killing and told there was a threat on his life and he was sent home to arrive at his home at the time of the assassination, never to hear about this threat again. This was a phony threat. I think it became quite clear. They didn't trust him because when been a community relations officer that had been secunded into intelligence and at the last minute had to pull him off, he might have seen something, done something that was untrustworthy. He was pulled off. The other officer remained making notes of what he saw.
There were two black firemen, the only two black firemen in the fire station, they were removed. They were given orders the night before not to report for duty but to go to another fire station in each case where they were surplussed to requirements.
Why were they removed? Why were those two black firemen removed, the only two black firemen, and the night before? You heard the Jerry Williams, Captain Williams, testified that he had always formed an elite black homicide group of detectives as a bodyguard for Dr. King. The last visit, he was not asked to form that bodyguard. This was the only time he was not asked to form that bodyguard, and he didn't know why he was not asked to form that bodyguard. And that troubled him. You heard that the police were at one point around the Lorraine Motel and then they were removed, or they just disappeared. They disappeared within a half hour, forty-five minutes of the killing. Why did they disappear? Where did they go? You saw evidence that the Invaders, a local community-organizing group that had been willing to work with Dr. King toward the end and were there for the purpose of helping him produce a produce a peaceful march, at ten minutes to six, eleven minutes before the actual shooting, they left the motel. They were ordered to leave the motel. They were told their bills were no longer going to be paid and they had to leave the hotel. So they emptied out. They might have reacted violently and caused some sort of conflagration at the hotel, but they didn't. They just left.
You heard about the removal of the emergency tact forces. This is the emergency tact forces, in this case it was Tact 10, which was usually a group of four or five police cars with officers from the sheriff's department, police officers. They were around the Lorraine Motel until the afternoon before the killing. The afternoon of the 3rd they were ordered to be pulled back to the fire station on the periphery. When Inspector Evans was asked who gave him the instructions to pull them back, he said it was a request from Dr. King's group. But when he was asked who, you may recall, he said, oh, yes, I think it was Reverend Kyles that gave me that instruction. But the tact forces were pulled back.
The defendant on the day of the killing ordered a witness whom you heard who was working at a waitress for him, ordered Bobbie Balfour not to take any food upstairs to Grace Stephens, who was ill, and who had been received food on a daily basis, but that day, because the second floor of the rooming house was being used as a staging ground, no one was allowed up there, and he told her not to go up there. So she didn't go. So she didn't go.
Then you heard Olivia Catling, who had never been spoken to by anyone, Olivia Catling took the stand and told about a man coming from an alley that was connected to a building that was attached to the rooming house. She saw this man coming through that alley shortly after the killing, some minutes after the killing, and getting into a 1965 Green Chevrolet that was parked on Huling and then speeding away Norton Mulberry Street right in front of the police burning, rubber as he went, with no interference whatsoever from them.
All of these things, all of these events, I submit to you profoundly are strong evidence of the existence of a conspiracy just at the local level, not even mentioning the fact that the defendant has also indicated that planning sessions took place in his grill prior to the assassination.
So I think it is important to see that total picture of evidence you have. There should be no doubt that all of these things are indicative overwhelmingly of conspiracy. Now, are we conspiracy buffs because we find all of this evidence insurmountable? I think not. But you have heard it. The masses of Americans have not. And the media has never put it to them and I submit to you probably never will. That's why your presence is so important.
The crime scene, what about this crime scene? We submit that the crime scene, of course, was the back area of the rooming house. It was terribly overgrown with bushes. The bushes were thick and they were difficult to penetrate and that they provided an excellent sniper's lair. That's where the crime took place.
Any number of witnesses and evidence in the record indicates that a person or persons was seen in those bushes at the time of the shooting. These are different accounts that we put into the record, separate and apart.
There is other evidence, again, separate independent evidence, that a person was seen jumping from the wall, jumping over the wall and running up Mulberry Street. As a result of this, we've concluded some while ago and have tried to provide enough impetus for you to conclude that the shot came from these bushes and not from the bathroom window.
The bathroom window and the rooming house bathroom has been officially the scene of this crime forever. The State had evidence long ago that that was not the case, that the dent in the window sill was not made by the rifle, even though they maintained that was the case. The bathroom was seen open.
The State's main witness was drunk at the time. He was intoxicated. He couldn't identify anybody. Captain Tommy Stephens said he couldn't identify anyone, much less stand up. Yet it was the affidavit of Charles Stephens that brought James Earl Ray back to this country back from England. That was the basis of the proof that brought him back.
Do you know what confidence the State had in their own chief witness? They didn't even call him at the time of the guilty plea hearing. He didn't even testify at that point. Now, the murder weapon itself, Judge Joe Brown heard testimony and evidence in this case for about four years. He paid particular attention to the weapon, and he has had a lifetime of experience and developed knowledge about weapons and about rifles in particular. We qualified the judge as an expert. He came before you and he sat there.
Anyone who heard Judge Brown's testimony with respect to that weapon should have no -- and weapons in general should have no doubt whatsoever that he is in fact an expert. The media will point to his lack of technical training, courses having been taken with respect to learning about rifles. The other areas for developing expertise happens to be experience and self knowledge and development, which is what Judge Brown has.
Judge Brown sat in that chair and gave you sample technical scientific reasons why that weapon in evidence is not the murder weapon very clearly. He said, first of all, the scope was never sighted in. Because it was never sighted in, if you use that scope, to quote him, you couldn't hit the broadside of a barn with that weapon, remember that expression, because it was firing to the left and below the target, because it was never sighted in.
He also said the scope couldn't have been altered by having been dropped in a bundle. You can't alter a scope to that extent, its accuracy, by doing that.
He said also that the death slug did not have the same metallurgical composition as existed in the lead of the other evidence bullets that were found in that bundle the State has always said it was one of a number of bullets the defendant had and you should see them as a package, if you will. Judge Brown said, no, the death slug was different in metallurgical composition than the bullets that were there.
Beyond this, there is evidence that you've heard that this clearly couldn't have been the murder weapon because the defendant told a taxi driver, James McCraw, to get rid of the murder weapon, and he did so. McCraw, being a close friend of Jowers, a confident of Jowers, took the actual murder weapon and threw it off the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge. So it is laying at the bottom of the Mississippi River for over thirty-one years. The real murder weapon is at the bottom of that river.
Now, Bill Hamblin, no reason to lie, he said McCraw would only tell him this when he got drunk and he told him this over fifteen years. This is not something McCraw made up one day. It is over a period of fifteen years. I remind you that he told this same story.
Judge Arthur Haynes testified that he was, of course, James Earl Ray's first lawyer along with his father, and he testified that in the course of their early on-the-scene investigation, they talked to Guy Canipe, who owned the amusement shop in front of which was found the bundle which contained, amongst other things, the rifle. He said Canipe told them very early on, before anyone else apparently had done any kind of tampering with him, told him very early on that that bundle was dropped some minutes before the actual shooting. Imagine that, that the bundle, the murder weapon, the rifle in evidence, was dropped minutes before the actual shooting.
Now we come to Raoul, this shadowy figure who the defendant has mentioned and who James Earl Ray has talked about right from the beginning as someone who controlled him. You have a number of independent people, not even knowing each other, who have identified this man from a spread of photographs that they have seen. And they range from an English merchant seaman, who we had to depose by telephone at some length, who ran into this same Raoul at the same bar James did, up at the Neptune in Montreal.
They range from him to the Grabows, Royce Wilburn, to the defendant himself who identified Raoul from a spread of photographs before Ambassador Young and Mr. King, and, of course, James Earl Ray, who also identified him.
If that is not enough, if that is not enough, we have the British film producer, Jack Saltman, going to the door of Raoul's house, showing a photograph and having his daughter admit that that is the photograph of her father, her words to the effect that anyone can get that picture or that photograph of my father. It is from Immigration & Naturalization. She identified her own father as the person in that photograph.
Under subpoena and reluctantly a Portuguese journalist took the stand. She had conducted an interview with a member of the family. The member of that family had told her that this was a horror, a nightmare for them and for the family, but the one comfort they had was that the government was helping them, that the government had sent people to their home approximately three times or so, and that the government was monitoring their telephone calls and the government was providing them with guidance. The government was trying to give them comfort and advice.
Can you imagine if anything like that happened to -- if any charges were laid against any of us in those circumstances, do you think the government would come around and see us, help us, monitor our phones?
That act alone indicates the importance and the significance of this man, Raoul. So it is essential that that be put clearly in the context.
Now, as I understand it, the defense had invited Raoul to appear here. He is outside this jurisdiction, so a subpoena would be futile. But he was asked to appear here. In earlier proceedings there were attempts to depose him, and he resisted them. So he has not attempted to come forward at all and tell his side of this story or to defend himself.
As we move into the next area, we're concerned now about a broader conspiracy, a broader conspiracy. That is two-pronged, ladies and gentlemen. On the one hand, the broader conspiracy goes beyond a shooter in the bushes who gets away with killing Martin King. It goes from him to a Mr. Jowers, who is involved in facilitating, and it goes back to Mr. Liberto, whom you've heard was clearly a part of it, but it goes beyond Mr. Liberto in terms of the Mob side, because you've heard from witness Nathan Whitlock how he used to push a fruit cart in New Orleans with Mr. Carlos Marcello and that he then has this relationship and this awareness of Marcello and Marcello activities. Carlos Marcello has been the Mob kingpin, was the Mob leader in this part of the country, for a long, long time.
So any contract, any Mob contract, on Martin Luther King's life, would come from Marcello through Liberto into the local infrastructure that Marcello had here in Memphis. Marcello himself was involved in gun running. Part of the evidence in terms of the military involvement is contained in a lengthy article that we put into evidence that appears in March of 1993 in the Commercial Appeal by Steve Tomkins, and that article indicated that there was a high-ranking general who had been charged and imprisoned for aiding and abetting the trading in stolen weapons. That deal meant what he was involved in was the theft of guns from arsenals, armories and camps, like Camp Shelby in Mississippi, the theft of weapons from those places that went to -- were trucked to a Marcello property in New Orleans, and from the Marcello property in New Orleans were shipped around the coast into Houston, Texas, where they were taken off. And that is where Raoul and his crowd came into the receipt of those weapons before they went into Latin and South America.
So that's one prong of the broader conspiracy, the Mob. But, you see, already there is a relationship between organized crime and the military in the receipt of those weapons and in the ongoing sale of them.
Then we move directly into the government of the United States, their agents themselves. We've learned that the 111th Military Intelligence Group based at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia, were here.
They were in Memphis. They had Martin King under surveillance. That as open -- quote, open surveillance, eye-to-eye surveillance.
They had him under surveillance. Eli Arkin of the Memphis Police Department Intelligence Bureau, Intelligence Division, said they were in his office. He has he has admitted they were in his office.
They were here.
There was another section here that was involved in covert surveillance of Martin King. "Covert" means bugging, wiretapping, that type of activity. That was done at the Rivermont when he was here on the 17th or 18th. You heard a witness say he was one of three people who were effectively a surveillance team. They had Martin King's suite bugged, every room of it bugged, including the balcony. If he wanted to speak privately and went out on the balcony, they would pick it up by relay from the roof.
That covert -- that type of covert surveillance was carried out by another agency, usually the Army Security Agency. So there we have those two agencies involved very clearly here.
Then there were photographers. Remember those photographers that Captain Weiden talked about. They were on the roof of the fire station. He put them there. Who were they? They were a psychological operations team, and they were there and they photographed everything throughout that day. That means, ladies and gentlemen, that there is a film of everything that happened, photographs of everything that happened buried somewhere. We tried long and hard to unearth it unsuccessfully, but it is there and it is hidden, as it was hidden from this jury it is hidden from the American people. Maybe the media one day will let you know that it exists. But it is there. They took those photographs. They were what is known as a psychological operations team, and they were there and they photographed everything throughout that day. That means, ladies and gentlemen, that there is a film of everything that happened, photographs of everything that happened buried somewhere. We tried long and hard to unearth it unsuccessfully, but it is there and it is hidden, as it was hidden from this jury it is hidden from the American people. Maybe the media one day will let you know that it exists. But it is there. They took those photographs. They were what is known as a psychological operations team, and we know who the two members of that team were.
So there is this very strong presence now, which is primarily surveillance, it is intelligence gathering, it is visual and it is audio and it is going on and Martin King and his group are the subject of it.
But then there is another group that is more sinister. They are not more sinister because of what they did, because they didn't really do anything, but we know they had a presence. And that was a special eight-man sniper unit that was here in Memphis. They were all part of the 20th Special Forces Group. They were here and they were assigned and they were trained for an operation, for a mission, in Memphis. You heard testimony by a man who himself was a national security council operative who was very involved in Iran-Contra activities, who had been a long-standing operative, if you will, of the government of the United States and whose best friend was a member of that sniper team. There was no reason in the world for his best friend other than in a moment of whatever, anguish or burden, desire to relieve himself, to talk about this, this mission that he was on which he was assigned to in Memphis which was aborted, but he was assigned to it.
With a Q and A approach you heard documents of working papers that were used to get information from other -- from another source who lives south of the border and who fled the country in the 1970's out of fear who was also a part of that unit. So they were there, and there are three separate sources that confirm the presence. But they did not -- it was not necessary for them to do anything. The mission was aborted because the Mob contract was successful in killing Martin Luther King and framing James Earl Ray.
Remember, one of the things that Liberto also told the defendant, Loyd Jowers, was that there was a setup man, there was a patsy, lined up to take the blame. There was another area of comfort that the defendant could have.
Now we move to the cover-up aspect of this case. This in many ways is the most sad in a representative democracy to have to have this kind of cover-up be successful for so long. It is a shame. It is a tragedy. I think it goes right to the essence of democracy and the right of the people to know.
The cover-up activities in this case, ladies and gentlemen, range from murder to press manipulation and distortion, with bribery in between. Murder, unfortunately in our view, and from the evidence that you have heard here, credible sources, is that a taxi driver who pulled into the Lorraine Motel maybe six minutes before the killing or so, shortly before the killing, a Yellow Cab taxi driver who pulled into that drive and who was standing at the rear of his car loading the trunk of the car with the baggage, the luggage, of someone that was leaving, unfortunately for him, immediately after the shooting he saw the shooting and then turned to look at the other side of the road and saw a man come down out of the bushes and run up the street and get into a waiting Memphis Police Department traffic car which sped away.
When he reported this to his dispatcher, he thought the police had the assassin because he was in a police car going away. Well, this man, as you've heard, was questioned by the police a couple of times that week. He was to give a statement the next day.
He didn't give a statement, did he? No, his body was found off the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge supposedly thrown out of a speeding car. Now, when we tried to find death certificates for this man, we couldn't, either in Arkansas or in Tennessee. There is no death record at all. We found his phone number with that of his wife listed in 1967, 1966 and 1967, Betty and Paul Butler. This is all in evidence. The Polk Directory pages are there for you to look at. In 1968 it is Betty, brackets, widow, WID, of Paul, Betty widow, 1968 and 1969 she a widow. Paul Butler was her deceased husband. He was, for him, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That is in some ways the worst of it. Because is there anything really worse than losing your life when you've been in the wrong place at the wrong time?
The next aspect of cover-up is the tampering, drastic alteration, of the crime scene. What happened there? You've heard what happened. Seven o'clock in the morning Inspector Sam Evans called Maynard Stiles, who was a public works administrator, and asked him to get a work crew out there and to cut down those bushes. They cut the bushes down. Now, normally what one does with a crime scene, at least for quite a period of time, is to rope it off and keep people out of it and investigate it as it is. You don't go and destroy the crime scene. You don't know what is there. You go and you deal with it the way it was at the time of the crime.
No, it was cut right to the ground, cut right to the ground. And however long it took them to do it, they did a good job, because it was not possible for a sniper to be in that area once it was cut to the ground because he could obviously be very visible.
So the image of a flat, barren area is what was relayed, and that reinforced the whole bathroom window. There was no house-to-house investigation, ladies and gentlemen. Do you remember Judge Brown on the stand saying that this was the most deficient investigation, criminal investigation, he had ever seen as a criminal court judge? He is talking about all of these kinds of things. Imagine, no house-to-house investigation.
What that means is that no policeman going and knocking on the door of all of the local residents and asking them did they see anything, did they hear anything, because surely if they had, they would have knocked on Olivia Catling's door, wouldn't they? She just lived down the street on Mulberry. She would have told them what she saw. But they didn't. They didn't do that, did they? No, they didn't do that, not at all. Why? Why did they suppress two alibi statements, a statement from Ray Hendricks and William Reed, who left Jim's Grill, oh, thirty-five minutes past the hour of five, forty minutes past the hour of five, right around there, maybe even -- well, right around that time. It would be difficult to pin exact times down.
They left Jim's Grill, saw James Earl Ray's Mustang parked in front of Jim's Grill, started to work walk up the street and a couple of minutes later when they went up a couple of blocks and were about to cross Vance, one pulled the other back when the same white Mustang they thought came right around the corner driving away, as James Earl Ray had said he done.
He always said he left the scene of the crime around to that time to try to go have a spare tire repaired. Here are two alibi witnesses with statements given to the FBI in their 302's kept from the defense, withheld from the guilty plea jury, suppressed.
What else was suppressed? What was suppressed was the fact that they had a scientific report from the FBI that the dent in the window sill could not sufficiently be tied to the rifle. They had that. They had that almost a year prior to the actual guilty plea hearing. And yet they went before the guilty plea jury and said that scientific evidence would establish that the murder weapon made that dent. Obstruction of justice, suppression? That and worse.
What about the death slug that could not be matched? You know, the media and the State have turned the burden in this case of matching the bullet to the rifle the other way around. They are saying because you can't exclude it, it may be the murder weapon. That's not the way it works. In any other case that's not the way it works.
This is not a good rifle in evidence when you cannot match the death slug to it. And it was a death slug capable of being matched. You have evidence that that bullet was capable of being matched if it could.
There were enough striations, enough independent markings that they could match it if they could.
So the guilty plea hearing guilty plea hearing heard none of this. I talked to members of the guilty plea jury years later.
They heard none of this. This was all kept quiet. They certainly would have had questions about Mr. Ray's plea if they had.
They certainly didn't know that his lawyer had agreed in writing to pay $500 if he would plead guilty and not cause any problems and that $500 could be used to hire another lawyer who could help overturn the plea. They certainly were not told that.
They certainly were not told those kinds of pressures that descended on him at the last minute to cop this plea, which I'm afraid people do all the time in desperation, particularly when they are in isolation the way he was.
What about Captain Weiden? My goodness. Captain of the fire station, never interviewed by local police authorities. The man who ran that installation, who was there at the time, never interviewed by the authorities. Forgetting about knocking on people's doors. Here is official, he is a senior executive officer of the fire station. They didn't talk to him. They didn't interview him. They didn't ask him what was going on there that afternoon. Were they afraid that he would have told them about the photographers on the roof? Because if he had, then they wouldn't have been unnoticed, would they? It wouldn't have been unnoticed that there were photographs of what went on, and they would have then had to request those photographs. So if you don't talk to Captain Weiden, you don't have to know about them. If you don't know about it, you don't ask for it.
You heard Bill Schaap on the stand for a long time talking about media distortion and the use of media for propaganda. He gave you the history of how it has developed particularly over the 20th century America but, of course, it is a long-standing activity throughout history in older nations than this.
But Schaap took you painstakingly through that history down to the present time when he dealt with the way the media handled Martin Luther King, how they handled his opposition to the war in Vietnam, how he was attacked because of that opposition to the war.
Then he moved on. There were similar, comparable attacks on the King family since they decided they wanted the truth out in this case and they decided that James Earl Ray was entitled to a trial, similar media treatment happened to them that happened to Martin, similar loss of contributions and money for the work that happened to Martin back in those days. The same thing.
Bill Schaap led you through that. There were a couple of instances where he referred to the huge network of ownership and control of media entities all over the world by the Central Intelligence Agency. It is a matter of public record. It has appeared in Congressional hearings, Senate hearings, which most people don't read, don't know anything about, and, of course, the media only covers in sparse fashion, because it is contrary to their interests to show that great numbers of newspapers, radio stations, television stations, may in fact be actually owned by the Central Intelligence Ageny in this country as well as elsewhere.
He talked about the numbers of actual agents who work for media companies, who are placed in positions in network television company positions, in newspaper company positions, on newspaper editorial board positions.
If you see the history of how national security cases are covered and this is one, you will be amazed that some of the most liberal columnists, writers, respected journalists, Pulitzer Prize winners, who have all the liberal credentials, when it comes to this kind of case, they all of a sudden are totally with the government because national security cases are a different ball game.
Ambassador Young ran into one at one point in an airport, and he said to him, how can you do this, Tony, about this case, you have great credentials in every other way, what is it about this case? His response was, you'll be happy to know my wife agrees with you. But that was it. That was the end of the response.
The point is on these cases there is a special type of treatment that is given. It is important to understand that across the board. That explains a lot of what we're talking about. Examples: Column 1, New York Times, November, the article is here, Alton, Illinois, bank robbery, Wendell Rose, Jr., the Times wrote this whole piece, fabricated, whole cloth, that the Ray brothers robbed the bank in Illinois and that's where James got his money and therefore there is no Raoul.
The problem was that the article said that the Times had conducted a special investigation that paralleled that of the House Select Committee and that of the FBI, and all three investigations indicated this was the case. Case closed, this is where Ray got his money.
The problem is they never talked to the chief of police in Alton, Illinois. They never talked to the president of the bank in Alton, Illinois. There was no investigation. And when those people were talked to by myself or by Jerry Ray, who went down there to turn himself in -- you think I did this, I'm prepared to turn myself in -- the guy said, go away, you've never been a suspect. Isn't that amazing, out of whole cloth. But it appears, and that's the mindset that the people have.
You heard Earl Caldwell say he was sent to Memphis by his national editor, New York Times national editor, Claude Sitton at the time, and told to go to Memphis and his words were "nail Dr. King." Nail Dr. King. That is what he said he was told was his mission here in Memphis as a New York Times reporter. I can go on. But these are examples of what happens with the media.
Now, Bill Schaap told you the impact of that out of thirty-one years is very devastating, is very hard to hear this for thirty-one years and have somebody come along and say, no, you've been told the wrong thing and here are a whole set of facts that are incontrovertible and this is why you've been old the wrong thing.
The reaction is still, oh, yes, that's interesting, but the next day we still believe, because it is almost implanted neurologically. That's the problem that this kind of distortion, media propaganda abuse, just raises.
Mr. Jowers here, the defendant, was a victim of that. They gave him -- ABC gave him a lie detector test and they told him at the end of that lie detector test that he had failed, why was he doing this, was he looking for money, he had failed this lie detector test. You heard from a cab driver, who has nothing to gain by this, take the stand and say, yeah, he drove those ABC people to the airport, took them to the airport, and he heard their conversation. His ears perked up when he heard Jowers' name because he heard them, the guy in the front, the examiner, said, I couldn't get him to waver, I couldn't get him to waver. They were commenting on how much he remembered in so much detail and why he remembered so much detail.
There is no question about him failing this test. They couldn't get the defendant to lie. And yet that program was broadcast, was put out to masses of people in this country to believe to this day that the defendant lied, that he lied.
Now, you heard -- we're still on cover-up. I'm sorry. You heard about two efforts to bribe James Earl Ray. I don't know of any others, but you have heard of two in particular, one from a lawyer, Jack Kershaw, who told you about a meeting at the Nelson Book Publishing Company and he was offered a sum of money if Ray would admit that he did it. He was offered this money by William Bradford Huey, who was a writer, if Ray would confess that he did it and did it alone and he would give him this money and give him a pardon and he would go on and have a nice life.
Mr. Kershaw went over to the prison, as you heard, asked Mr. Ray if you want to take up this wonderful offer. Ray, of course, said, no, and sent him packing. Some while later a telephone -- on a telephone conversation Huey made the same offer to Jerry Ray. His problem then was that that conversation was recorded. Jerry Ray testified and you have a transcript of that recording, he was offered now $220,000, they greatly increased the sum of money, $220,000, also a pardon. And the best story, of course, that they wanted, that Huey wanted, was the story why I killed Martin Luther King.
So they were offering him money, a pardon if he would tell that story. It didn't work. James, of course, was not interested in anything of the sort. James had always only wanted, from three days after his conviction, he had always wanted a trial. That is what he wanted. Then there were a number of attempts to kill James Earl Ray. These attempts vary. One time he escaped from Brushy Mountain in 1977, he escaped from Brushy Mountain with six others. No sooner did his feet hit the ground and they were up in the woods there -- if you know that area of Petros, Tennessee, it is pretty rural in some areas and rocky and hilly -- he was up in the woods, and no sooner did he go get up in the woods but there was an FBI SWAT team out of the Knoxville office on the scene.
Who asked for them? It is a State escape, State prisoner. The State is handling it. No, here comes in the SWAT team. They have snipers with sniper rifles. What are they going to do with those sniper rifles?
Lewis Stokes was chairman of the Select Committee on Assassinations. He calls Ray Blanton, who is a governor of the State at the time. Reverend Fauntroy was a part of to that conversation and said he was the one who encouraged Stokes to call, but he was there. Stokes calls Blanton and says that you better get over to Brushy Mountain. If you don't, I'm going to lose my most famous witness and your most famous prisoner because the FBI is going to kill him. Blanton goes over in a helicopter and chases the FBI away.
They didn't what to go at first. He told them he would put them in the same sell James Earl Ray came out of if they didn't. He saved James Earl Ray's life. He was caught and brought back by local authorities, which is the way it should have been.
The second attempt was in April of 1978. You heard April Ferguson, public defender counsel, tell you how that worked. She went out, interviewed a prisoner who had called their office when April and Mark Lane were representing James back at that time. He was offered a contract. He was asked to put out a contract on James Earl Ray, and he decided not to do it.
One, he thought he was being set up because the person who called him left a number and he had to call him back. When he called had him back, he was calling him back at an Executive Suites hotel that he knew, the prisoner knew, was being used by the local US Attorney's Office and the FBI where they interviewed informants and where they did the briefings. That's where the phone call came from.
He thought he was being set up. The phone call came to him from a fellow called Arthur Wayne Baldwin, who was a Mob figure in Memphis but who also was involved as a federal informant and was used by the government.
So he gave the statement of how this contract was put out by Baldwin on James Earl Ray's life, and Ms. Ferguson testified as to her affidavit. Defendant's prior admissions, the next section of plaintiffs' case, you've heard a good deal of it, how the defendant has admitted how he was approached by Mr. Liberto and how he was told that he would receive a package, which he did, and money and eventually a rifle to hold, and he told about planning sessions in his cafe, and he told about taking a rifle from the shooter, taking the rifle from the shooter, one that was still smoking. He said taking it from his back door.
He named the shooter as a Memphis Police Department lieutenant, Earl Clark, who is deceased, who was a sharpshooter who he said was a hunting companion of his, a friend of his, and a friend of Liberto's as well and who never had any contact with him again after this day.
Now, Mrs. Clark, the first wife, who testified, gave her husband an alibi. It is only fair that you consider what Ms. Clark said. When I first interviewed here in 1992 -- she referred to that interview. In fact, her son was there. He was not twenty-two. He was born later. He was about sixteen. Her daughter was born in 1970. It was the son who was present. She told essentially the same story at that point in time.
There are serious questions with that story, and they have to do with whether or not in fact Lieutenant Clark had a radio at all at that point in time and whether or not in fact Dent Cleaners was open later than six p.m. on that day. Because by her accounts she got there sometime between six-thirty and six-forty to pick up his uniform. But, in any event, you have to consider all of that.
Lastly, in respect of the defendant's situation, we had placed a woman -- aspects of a woman's testimony into the record so that you can review it, and she was a waitress who had been a lover of the defendant during that previous year.
She very reluctantly in 1992 gave a statement that had really to be worked out of her. She didn't want to tell this story even then because she was afraid that her former lover and boss, Mr. Jowers, was the killer.
He was the only one she saw, she said, out there, and she was afraid that he was the killer. Plaintiffs do not believe that to be the case at this point in time.
She described him running, face white as a sheet, looking like a wild man with all mud on his knees, as though he had been kneeling in that brush area. She has been to some extent discredited because there have been -- people have descended upon her for various reasons. She was a -- a statement of hers was taken repudiating a lot of things she said, but she subsequently said in another sworn statement that she didn't even read what the state officials told her to sign.
So in a case like this, this is a difficult area for you to assess for yourselves in terms of what you read and what you have heard here.
The last area of the plaintiffs' case has to do with damages. We've addressed that. Members of the family have addressed that in terms of the spirit in which the family has approached these proceedings from the beginning.
Yes, we want a verdict of liability, a verdict of a finding of conspiracy, but the family is not interested to benefit financially from these proceedings. There has to be damages in civil litigation of this sort. It is a wrongful death action. So the request is that there be an award of one hundred dollars to offset funeral expenses at the time. And that one hundred dollars the family has decided to contribute, along with other contributions, to a welfare fund of the sanitation workers in this city, because that is the reason that Dr. King came here in the first place.
Now, what I'd like to do is to briefly take you through a visual summary, it will be much quicker than my verbal summary, but to take you through a visual picture of the summary of what you have just heard in terms of the major aspects of the plaintiffs' case.
24 THE COURT: Does anybody need a break?
A JUROR: Yes.
THE COURT: You do? All right. Just five minutes.
(Jury out.)
(Short recess.)
THE COURT: All right, Sheriff. Bring the jury back out, please.
(Jury in.)
THE COURT: All right,
Mr. Pepper. You may resume.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor. We have a depiction of the overall seen of the assassination at about five forty-three, the time we've pinpointed, on the afternoon of the assassination. Here in this depiction we have two people on the firehouse roof, we show two people in the brush area at this time, a number of witnesses down below the balcony right in there.
THE COURT: Mr. Pepper, excuse me. Can you see that?
A JUROR: Yes.
MR. PEPPER: Am I in your way?
THE COURT: You may stand over here, Mr. Pepper.
MR. PEPPER: There is also a car, a Chevrolet car, parked here on Huling, and two Mustangs on South Main Street. You will remember Charles Hurley testified that he drove up behind this Mustang when he was picking his wife up. It had Arkansas plates. This Mustang is believed to have been James Earl Ray's.
Now, when we move ahead, we're still at five forty-three, but it is between five forty-three and five forty-four, Hendricks and Reed, who have been in Jim's Grill here, have come out and have since walked up this street. About this time this first Mustang has pulled off. Everything else remains the same. You have the photographers on the roof, you have the two figures in the brush, who we believe to be Earl Clark and Loyd Jowers, and you have witnesses below the balcony over here.
Now we're at five-fifty. The evidence reveals that this first Mustang is gone. The second Mustang still remains. Photographers still remain clicking away on the roof. The figures in the brush still remain. The Invaders have started to leave the hotel. They are coming down the stairs and they are leaving at five-fifty. They were noticed leaving. Billy Kyles, Reverend Kyles, is right there knocking on Martin King's door as the evidence indicates at ten minutes to six. The witnesses are still down below.
At five fifty-five, the Invaders are now off the premises, they've gone. Reverend Kyles has come away from the door and is on the balcony to the right of the door. The witnesses are still below. Photographers are still in their perch photographing. The Chevrolet is still parked where was. And now a Memphis Police Department traffic car has pulled up to this intersection right here at Mulberry and Huling. In addition to that, about this time a rifle and an evidence bundle has been dropped by this figure right here in Canipe's.
Next. Still at five fifty-five, between five fifty-five and five fifty-six, the Yellow taxicab has pulled into the Lorraine driveway and is loading a passenger. The man who has dropped the rifle has now approached this second Mustang with the Arkansas plates here. The figures in the bushes are still there. The Chevrolet is there and the taxi driver himself is standing toward the rear of his car next. About five fifty-six, in that area, Martin King appears on the balcony and begins to talk to a number of the people below who we've been calling as witnesses. The taxi driver is still there unloading a passenger's luggage, and the photographers are there. The rifle remains, but now the second Mustang moves off. The traffic car remains in position and the Chevrolet remains where was.
Okay. Six-oh-one p.m., April 4th, 22 1968, Martin Luther King has been felled by a single shot. Everything else remains the same. The taxi driver is facing the brush area. The photographers are still on the roof of the fire station. The rifle in evidence remains in Canipe's doorway. The Chevrolet remains on Huling. The Memphis traffic car remains at the intersection of Mulberry and Huling. The figures in the bushes at this point remain there.
Next. Instantly, between six-oh-one and six-oh-two, immediately after the shot, one of the two figures, and we maintain it is the defendant, is moving toward his building carrying the murder weapon. The other figure in the bush, in the bushes, is going down -- appears to be at this point not going down but appears to be alone around the edge of the wall. The photographers are there. The taxi driver is still there looking at the brush area, and journalist Earl Caldwell, having heard the shot, has come out of his room.
It is difficult to do this with computers. You may recall Caldwell was in his shorts standing there looking at the bushes seeing this figure in the bushes. The traffic car remains there. Kyles remains off to the right of the fallen Martin King instantly after the shot. The witnesses are there, some of whom turn toward the bushes looking up in that direction.
Next. Also between six-oh-one and six-two, because that's what it takes, Mr. Jowers has entered his establishment. The shooter has gone down over the wall and has run toward that Memphis traffic vehicle, car vehicle, right there. This is all happening between six-oh-one and six-oh-two. That's the period of time in which this was carried out.
The taxi driver has seen the shooter jump from the wall and run to here and get into that traffic car. The photographers must have photographed it. There they are. The rifle remains. Mr. Jowers has entered his establishment at that point in time.
Okay. Around six-oh-five, under great pressure from his passenger, the taxi driver actually drives away, left the Lorraine parking lot. The shooter, having gotten into that traffic car, is also gone, disappeared. That traffic car sped up Huling, west on Huling. It is gone. Mr. Jowers is inside his establishment, the witnesses remain in place where they were. Mr. Caldwell has gone back into his room to put on his trousers.
Next. We're at about six-oh-eight. At this point in time barricades in the form of police cars have been established at either end of Mulberry, thus blocking any entrance to the street. We're at six-oh-seven. I'm a minute ahead of myself.
We're at about six-oh-seven. Everything else remains pretty much the same except Journalist Caldwell has come out of his room again and would eventually make his way up to the balcony. Dr. King is still down, witnesses are in place, photographers are in place, the rifle remains where it is, and Reverend Kyles is still on the balcony.
Also at six-oh-seven or thereabouts Olivia Catling has arrived at the corner of Mulberry and Huling. She has three children with her. Two are hers and one is a neighbor child. She has come to that corner just about this time, having heard the shot from inside her house. Everything else remains pretty much in place with the photographers, the witnesses and Journalist Caldwell coming out and the rifle still at Canipe's.
Okay. About six-oh-nine we have a man appearing in the alley. This is the first time he has appeared. He has apparently come from connected Buildings to the rooming house and he is now seen in the alley. Everything else remains the same. The barricades are in place. Mrs. Catling is there.
Next. He moves between this time, within a minute, very quickly to this car seen by Mrs. Catling and the children. Next. He gets in the car and rips off east on Huling, making a sharp turn going north on Mulberry right in front of this police barricade and proceeds unimpeded north on Mulberry away from the scene.
Now, at that point in time Mrs. Catling notices a fireman who is standing in front of the wall, and he is talking to policemen, yelling at policemen, that the shot came from the clump of bushes up there. They apparently are not listening to him. Those are the -- that's the visual depiction of the critical events that we wanted to put forward.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, sometimes that is helpful to amplify the verbal narrative. Sometimes it confuses more than it helps. But I think we've tried to draw this and depict it as precisely as we can within the constraints of the actual evidence that has been presented to you.
Let me close by saying to you that long after people forget what has been said in this courtroom, all the words that you've heard from witnesses and lawyers, and long after they have forgotten about accounts that they have read about this case, they are going to remember what was done here. They are going to remember what action you took, what decision you came to.
You have got to understand the monumental importance of your decision. You are going to -- they are going to forget everything I said, everything defense counsel has said, everything the witnesses have said. They are going to remember one thing, the ruling of this jury, the verdict of this jury because you have heard evidence that has never before been put on in a court of law.
Some of it would have been put on in Mr. Ray's trial, if he had ever been granted a trial. He wasn't. It wasn't heard. Judge Brown was on the verge of granting that trial, on the eve, in our view, so close to granting that trial, and then he was removed by the Court of Appeals in this state from the case, summarily removed. Without any argument, any oral argument, they made that decision. So Mr. Ray never had the trial. He was in his dying months when he might have gotten that trial. The Court of Appeals finished that possibility.
Only you have heard this. The people in the United States of America have not heard this. The masses of people in this country or the world have not heard this. They've heard snippets, they've heard edited clips on various documentaries and programs, but no one has heard the detailed evidence that you have here.
That is why your decision at this point in time is the most significant decision that will have been taken in thirty-one years in terms of this case.
Please don't underestimate the importance of it. In our view, what has happened in this case, the injustice that has happened in this case, and it may be symptomatic of other cases, we don't know -- we haven't gotten into that, we've just focused on this case -- but what has happened here in our view is representative of the failure that symbolizes to me the failure of representative democracy in this country.
Isn't it amazing that one could say that over a simple murder case. But when you look at the wealth of evidence that has come forward and you understand how this case has been conducted and you understand how it has been covered up, and when you see how unresponsive elected officials and government has been and how complicit they have been, you can come to no other choice.
Governmental agencies caused Martin Luther King to be assassinated. They used other foot soldiers. They caused this whole thing to happen. And they then proceeded with the powerful means at their disposal to cover this case up. This is a conspiracy that involved -- and that's a nasty word. People insult people in this country who use the word "conspiracy." Nowhere else in the world, as Bill Schaap told you, is it viewed that way. In Italy and France conspiracy is taken for granted because they have lived with it so much longer. Remember that there were thirty-nine daggers going into Cesar.
You know, these things do not happen as a rule without the involvement of other people and in this case, this type of murder, without the involvement of seriously prominent individuals in government. So it is in my view a failure of democracy and this Republic that it has not been able to bring this forward.
What we're asking you to do at this point in time is send a message. We're asking you to send a message, not just right a wrong. That's important, that you right a wrong and that you allow justice to prevail once and for all. Let it prevail. Let justice and truth prevail, else the heavens fall. No matter what, let it prevail. Let it come forward. We're asking you to let that happen.
But in addition to that, we're asking you to send a message, send a message to all of those in power, all of those who manipulate justice in this country that you cannot get away with this. Or if you can get away with it, you can only get away with it for so long. Ultimately truth-crushed earth will rise again, and it has risen in this courtroom, ladies and gentlemen. Send that message. You, you twelve, represent the American people. You are their representatives with respect to justice in this case. They cannot be here. The media will keep the truth from them forever. You represent the people of this land. You must speak for them.
In all of my years I've had confidence in one institution anywhere in the Anglo-American world, and it is a jury. It is twelve people independently hearing evidence and ruling. That's you. You have this duty to yourselves, this obligation to your fellow citizens, and you have an opportunity to act in a most significant way that perhaps you can ever imagine, because your verdict of conspiracy in this case, your verdict of liability for the defendant and his other co-conspirators, means history is rewritten, means textbooks have to be rewritten, means the actual result of this case and the truth of this case now must come forward formally.
This message also will be sent to the Attorney General of the United States, whose team are investigating in a limited way, they say, this case. But you have heard much more, so that is why this message is so important. Please send it.
On behalf of the family of Martin Luther King, Jr., on behalf of the people of the United States, I ask you to find for the plaintiff and find that conspiracy existed and that those conspirators involved not only the defendant here but we're dealing in conspiracy with agents of the City of Memphis and the governments of the State of Tennessee and the United States of America.
We ask you to find that conspiracy existed and once and for all give this plaintiff family justice and let's cleanse this city and this nation of the ignorance that has pervaded this case for so long. Let the truth reign in this courtroom once and for all.
Thank you very much.
THE COURT: Mr. Garrison.
MR. GARRISON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I promise you one thing, I won't take that long. Let me say this first of all: I've been practicing law here starting forty years this past August, and I think this is the most important case to me that I've ever been associated with.
I've tried cases in this courtroom and all over this courthouse, and I think this case is the most important case I've ever been associated with. I say that because it is important to the King family, it is important to the American way of life, important to quality and important to history now.
Over the past few years I've met with Ms. Coretta King and Mr. Dexter King and the family, and they are a very lovable family. They have gone through more than any family should have to go through and simply because of the color of their skin, because Dr. King simply was seeking equality and equal rights. And if our constitution means anything, it means that is for everybody.
Now, Dr. Pepper has pursued this case for years. He is like a bulldog on your trousers. You just can't shake him loose, you can't shake him off. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be here today. He and I have many areas of agreement, but we have many areas of disagreement. I want to put those out you to now.
First of all, let me say this: I told you at the beginning that anything that Mr. Jowers had to do with this was very, very minute and small. I think the proof fairly shows that. Here is a man who had a greasy-spoon restaurant, a beer joint, to put it bluntly, that was there in a place where he had been dealing with a Mr. Liberto, and perhaps those things weren't the way they should be, but he is not on trial for that. He simply said that I had handled money for Mr. Liberto previously and that here again he asked me to handle some money. He said he was going to send a box to him. I didn't know what it was. He said that the money came in and the box came in and that he said someone would pick up the box and you be at the back door at six 4 o'clock and something would be handed to you. He says I didn't know anything.
Now, he met with Mr. Dexter King and Ambassador Young freely and voluntarily at his own expense, his own time. He told them what limited information he had about this. He was very honest with them and very sincere in telling them what he knew about this case, which was very limited.
He told Dexter King, which Mr. King admitted here, that he said I didn't know anything about this as far as it being Dr. King that would be the target of assassination, I had no knowledge of that. He said I apologize to you for anything that I may have done that would cause the death of your father, but I had no idea, no knowledge, it was just simply something I was doing and had been doing previously, it wasn't any different from the other things.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, it is ironic to note here that there is only one person that has placed any blame on Mr. Jowers as far as being there doing anything. That's Ms. Spates. You've heard her testimony. You've heard an affidavit read to you that she gave to the prosecutors of the city of Memphis, their investigators. She first tried to say that Mr. Jowers was there and she saw him and all this thing about him being white and so forth and so on, but she came back and in an exhibit here that you have a right to see said I wasn't even there, I was at work that day, I didn't see anything, because I didn't see Mr. Jowers with a gun, I never saw anything, I was at work that day.
Which version do you believe? This is a sworn statement, a sworn statement under oath she gave to the prosecutors. It is saying I wasn't even there. So which version do you I believe of Ms. Spates?
She first tried to say she had been offered some money by Mr. Jowers and even by me. Yet the first thing I asked her in her testimony is -- I had never seen the lady but twice in my life -- Ms. Spates, isn't it true you have never been offered any money we never even talked about any money? She said, that's exactly right. She goes on to say I was never offered any money. So you have Ms. Spates, who is the only person that said anything about Mr. Jowers' involvement in this, and which version do you believe? Do you believe that she told the truth one time or the other time? Both of them were under oath. Now, as far as Mr. McCraw, I knew Mr. McCraw, represented him for years. The thing about Mr. McCraw is that as Mr. Hamblin said, you couldn't believe a thing he said.
That's his best friend, he got on the stand and said you couldn't believe a word he said. Mr. Jowers played a very, very insignificant and minor role in this if he played anything at all. He stated because of who he has come forth and said, that he has lost his wife, everything he has and his health. So he played a very insignificant, very small role, if anything in this thing.
It was much bigger than Mr. Jowers, who owned a little greasy-spoon restaurant there and happened to be at the location that he was. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I guess the area of disagreement between Dr. Pepper and myself for the most part is this: It is Mr. James Earl Ray's part in this case.
Let's look at this. You know, you have Mr. Ray here, who was a convict who spent ninety-nine and nine-tenths of his life in prison, who would do anything for money. He'd rob, take a gun, steal, do anything for money. He enjoyed his notoriety as the most famous prisoner this state has ever known.
He enjoyed that. That was a big thing with him. Here he was let out of prison in a bread truck. If you saw the poster here that's an exhibit, fifty dollars reward. Big reward for him, wasn't it, for a man. He came and talked Dr. King. Don't you think it is ironic he was in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, Tennessee, when Dr. King was there, Selma, Alabama, little town of Selma when Dr. King was there?
Don't you think it is ironic that there was a map that they found when he was in Atlanta where he circled Dr. King's home, his church, his place of business? I asked him on the deposition -- I know the deposition was long and burdensome to you, but I want you to hear what he said. He has told a thousand and one stories. This was his last one. This is number one thousand and one. As far as I know, it is the last time he ever told his story and testified.
It is ironic that he had a map of Atlanta with these three markings. He had never been to Memphis, never been to Birmingham, never been to New Orleans, no maps. But a map of Atlanta was found in his car which admitted had the circle around Dr. King's home, his place of business and Dr. King's church.
Now, the State of Tennessee says that James Earl Ray acted and acted alone. I think there is some validity to that. I don't agree with everything they say, but I think there is some validity to it. Mr. Ray, when I asked him how did you know that Dr. King had been assassinated, he said, I heard it on the news. I had just gone through a whole series of questions where he said I never listened to the news. I said, didn't you know they had riots in Memphis, didn't you know there was someone killed there? He said, I never listened to the news. Five minutes after Dr. King was killed, yeah, I heard it on the news. I think Mr. Ray's testimony speaks for itself.
He goes in and buys a gun he says from somebody named Raoul that asked him to do this, but he gets a gun that Raoul says -- first of all, Raoul didn't tell him to get a scope. He got that on his own. He didn't tell him to get a scope on a rifle. He goes in and says, I want another gun, this is not the right gun, Raoul told me to do this, but he never showed the gun to Raoul. Was there really a Raoul? Maybe there was. Isn't it ironic that for month no one ever saw him with Mr. Ray, no one, no one. Now, when you take all the testimony here from Mr. Ray and all the scenarios and the things that happened, it makes you wonder, did Mr. Ray do this? Dr. Francisco says, I was taken up to the window there where the shot was supposed to have come from and I saw the path of the bullet. In my opinion, it came from that window sill. This is a medical examiner saying that. Ladies and gentlemen, last year the Attorney General's Office here concluded a five-year investigation, five years, and this is a report of theirs. Don't decide this case without reading this report. It is an exhibit. Can you read it. Don't decide the case without seeing this. It wouldn't be fair to anyone if you didn't. They concluded that there is no proof here that anyone acted in this case except Mr. Ray that was material.
Now, you know, you wonder sometimes why people tell things, and you've got to think about, well, is that -- what are the circumstances? Because in March of 1969, here again is an exhibit which you need to read before deciding this case, Mr. Ray was asked by Judge Battle, "Are you pleading guilty to murder in the first degree in this case because you killed Dr. Martin Luther King under such circumstances that would make you legally guilty of murder in the first degree under the law as explained to you by your lawyers? Answer, yes."
Now, ladies and gentlemen, I think under the circumstances, if you remember former Congressman Fountroy here said -- I asked him, why did the committee conclude that Mr. Ray was the assassin? What was his answer? He said because he kept changing his story. Do you remember tht? That's the testimony he gave here, a gentleman who was in charge of the congressional committee.
This went on for weeks and weeks and weeks. They spent money, untold sums of money to investigate this case. They concluded that Mr. Ray was the one who pulled the trigger, was the one who did the assassination.
Now, let me say this: After spending several years with this case and talking to many, many witnesses, listening to this trial and taking many depositions, you can't help but wonder about things. You've got to wonder from this standpoint: Would the restaurant owner of a greasy-spoon restaurant and a lone assassin, could they pull away officers from the scene of an assassination? Could they change rooms? Could they put someone up on top of the fire station? A convict and a greasy-spoon restaurant owner, could they do that? You know, when this trial started, there are two people mentioned in this guilty plea who are still living. I talked to them and issued subpoenas for them to be here who are prosecutors to explain you to ladies and gentlemen as to why there wasn't more done to investigate this case. Mr. Ray tried several times, seven, eight, nine times, to get a trial the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court, never granted it. He was turned down that many times. Why didn't they test the gun? I don't know. It doesn't make sense to me. You know, that would have ended this case if they had tested the gun. There is DNA -- they can use means now to test these guns. They could find out if they wanted to. Why wasn't that done? I don't understand.
I've never understood as to why the prosecutors and the Attorney General, if they really wanted to end this case and solve it, why didn't they test the gun. That would have told us whether or not Mr. Ray -- that was the gun that did it with his fingerprints on it or was it another gun. It was never done. They fought it and fought it and fought it.
I talked to two prosecutors who agreed to be here to testify, who had subpoenas to be here. The day before yesterday, without you knowing, the Court of Appeals said, no, you can't bring them in.
They turned us down again. That's the same thing we've had over and over and over.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, it is ironic in this case that when the extradition proceedings were started against Mr. Ray, that it was to try to extradite him for conspiracy to murder. That was the first thing the United States government tried to extradite Mr. Ray for, was conspiracy to murder.
You know, when you stop and rationalize this case and think, there has to be more it to it than a greasy-spoon restaurant owner and an escaped convict. They could not have arranged these things. They could not have done those things. Mr. Arkin testified here that one hour before the assassination, or a couple hours, there was a man that came in from Washington, sent in here from Washington saying Mr. Redditt has had a threat on his life and you've got to go get him. Could a greasy-spoon operator and escaped convict arrange for that? You know that's not the case. And I do, too. Anyone who can think knows better than that. Mr. Arkin also said there were officers from the United States government in his office. Why were they here? What were they doing here? They were sent here by the United States government.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, we've had problems with race in Memphis, and I'm sorry to say that I must talk about it to some extent. It has been said by a person who was very knowledgeable that we have the most serious racial divisions in Memphis of any city in this nation, and that's bad, that's terrible. We've got to live together and learn to live together and to know that we are all bothers and sisters. It shouldn't be this way. It shouldn't be we should have this type racism and the type problems we have.
In this case you have the opportunity to speak. You'll speak in your verdict in case that will either say one of two things: That we know that there was a conspiracy here, we know that they didn't intend for Dr. King to go to Washington to march, and we know that the United States government, the FBI and the Memphis Police Department and other government agencies along with Mr. Liberto and Mr. Earl Clark and Mr. James Earl Ray were involved in this case, and that's the type verdict that I would ask you to consider.
You told me at the beginning you weren't afraid to let the chips fall where they may. I gather from that that you are not afraid of the United States government. You are not afraid of the Memphis Police Department. If they are liable, you are going to say they are. Am I correct? Isn't that what we agreed to?
I think the testimony here that you've heard and the proof that you've heard indicates clearly there is more than just Mr. Jowers involved. He was a small-time greasy-spoon cafe operator who played a very small significant part in this case, if anything. If you will study over the reports I've provided for you and the exhibits, think about all the testimony that has been given here and what really happened, ladies and gentlemen, your verdict would have to be that the United States government, the FBI, the Memphis Police Department and others were involved in this conspiracy to murder Dr. King.
It is a shameful, terrible thing that happened here in Memphis. I'm sorry and apologize to Mr. King that it did, but think about it. It is a very serious matter. You'll never have a more serious opportunity to sit on a jury than this where the issues are more serious than this. Whatever you say will be recorded in history, and this will be it. We expect this case to end after this. It has been going on for years, but we think it is going to end with your decision in this case.
Please give it serious consideration and please think about a judgment against others besides Mr. Jowers. He played a very small part, you know he did, in this case. Think about the other part that Mr. Ray played, Mr. Liberto played. You've got testimony here from a witness that is uncontradicted saying that Mr. Liberto told me he had Martin Luther King assassinated.
Go over it. Think about it. Read over it. There is only one thing to do, that's to say that we the jury find that the United States government, FBI, State of Tennessee, Mr. Liberto, Mr. James Earl Ray, they were all involved in a conspiracy to murder Dr. Martin Luther King. That's the only decision can you make.
Thank you.
MR. PEPPER: I didn't realize I was going to have to try Mr. James Earl Ray's guilt or innocence in this courtroom, but counsel has raised it, so I should address some of the issues.
Mr. Ray had a habit of marking maps. I have in my possession maps that he marked when he was in Texas, Montreal and Atlanta, and what he did was it helped him to locate what he did and where he was going.
The Atlanta map is nowhere related to Dr. King's residence. It is three oblong circles that covered general areas, one where he was living on Peachtree. He did this. He did this up in Montreal at the Neptune Bar, did this in Texas when he was going down to Mexico and Laredo. It was a habit that James had. The maps are part of his practice, if you will.
James never stalked Martin Luther King. James was moved from place to place on instructions. He was told to go somewhere and he would go. He was given to some money, told to come to New Orleans and he would be given money.
James Earl Ray was in Los Angeles and was told to go to New Orleans. When Martin Luther King came to Los Angeles, James Earl Ray left. He was there first and he left. He didn't stay in Los Angeles. That was the time he left for Atlanta when Martin came there in March. He was in Atlanta when Martin King was there part of the time, but Dr. King was in and out of Atlanta a great deal of the time. So he would have to be there some of the time. He was not in Selma when Martin King was in Selma. That is a myth. He didn't stalk Dr. King. There was no reason to stalk him.
He wasn't in New York when he was in New York. He wasn't in Florida when he was in Florida. He wasn't in Chicago when was when Martin King was in Chicago. He worked in Wanetka, Illinois, for a period of time.
He wasn't in prison ninety-nine percent of his time. Before James Earl Ray went into the Army, he held down jobs. When came out, he held down jobs. When he got fired, that's when he started to get in trouble. He went and hung out in bars occasionally and somebody would suggest a good idea about how to get some money. So James fell into it. He was, rightly as Mr. Garrison says, was a penny-ante crook. That's really what it came down to.
He knew nothing about firearms. The man who sold him the rifle, Donald Woods, said he never saw a person who new less about firearms than James Earl Ray. Never saw a person who knew less about firearms.
He used to carry a pistol. When he would stick up a store, he would carry a pistol, and he had five bullets in the pistol. I asked him, James, why would you have five bullets in the pistol, why not six? He always kept the firing pin chamber empty. He was embarrassed to tell me.
Finally I got it out of him. One time literally he shot himself in the foot. It was an accident and the gun went off. He decided if he kept the firing pin chamber empty, that wouldn't happen. He only had five bullets. When he was arrested at Heathrow in London, that gun he was carrying had only five bullets.
He was somebody who was capable of being used for a crime like this. He was someone who was gullible in a lot of ways.
He was someone who needed money. He was on the run when he was concerned and he was someone that could be used. And he was used, and being used, he was told only what he needed to know. Because that's the way those things operate. Once he came under the control of this fellow, he would be told where to go, what to do, only what he needed to know.
10 He bought the wrong gun. He bought a 243 Winchester. Raoul said, no, he wanted 12 a 30-06. He pointed it out to him in a 3 brochure and he went back and got it. The very fact that he bought a gun and then went around and immediately exchanged it indicates that somebody is involved, somebody is controlling him or telling him to do something. So he did that.
Yes, he heard about the assassination on the radio, heard it on the car radio. He came back around to go to park the car on South Main Street the way Raoul instructed him. At the time he came back around, the police were all over the place.
He is an escaped convict. He is not thinking of Martin Luther King or anything else. He is thinking of being an escaped convict and being stopped. So he takes off. That's exactly what he did. He took off. And he did hear about this on the radio. The more he drove, the more he listened to the radio, the more he realized he was in serious trouble.
One of the problems James Earl Ray faced and lawyers for him faced was the fact that he was a classic con. If he believed someone was trying to help him, he wouldn't tell, he wouldn't name that person, wouldn't tell you who the person was. By my view, he mistakenly believed he was being helped, particularly when he was in Canada. But he would never tell us who was assisting him because he thought these were people who were legitimately trying to help him and he was not going to rat on them.
When he was captured after one prison escape and he was asked continually to explain how he got out, how he managed to get away, he refused to tell them. When I pushed him on it, how did it happen, he said, well, the guard was asleep, the guard fell asleep.
I said, why didn't you tell me that? He said, no, no, I might need him again another day. Even in that case he wouldn't tell So Ray was that kind of character.
I looked at him from 1978 to 1988, only began to represent him in 1988. Ten years after I started on this case I consented to represent James Earl Ray when I became totally convinced after ten years of looking at the evidence that he had no knowing involvement. He pled guilty because that was the thing to do.
Mr. Garrison read to you the response to the judge. What he left out was the fact that Ray said, yes, legally guilty, legally guilty. He was legally because he was copping a plea, so he was legally guilty. He never confessed. The media has always said he confessed, the confessed killer. He never confessed.
He always insisted that he didn't do it, always wanted a trial. When he fired the Haynes, Foremen came in, December 18th Foreman came on this case, formally into Memphis for the first time for a hearing, two p.m. that afternoon Foreman's local counsel was in meeting with the prosecutor. Two p.m., December 18th we have the minutes of the meeting, the local attorney was meeting with the prosecutor, Canale, to start plea-bargaining negotiations. Imagine that, without any knowledge of Ray at all.
On February 21 he was writing to his brother that I expect a trial to start perhaps in April. That late they had been stitching him up all that time beforehand.
Finally Foreman comes down on him and says that you've got to plead guilty, they are doing fry your ass, they convicted you in the paper, they are going to send your father back where he was a parole violator forty years ago, they are going to harass the rest of your family and, besides, Forman said, I'm not in good health and I can't give you your best defense.
That was the thing that James said always, he had to get rid of that lawyer and didn't think the judge would change him, so he said to him to plead, which he did on March 10th, and then I'll get a new trial, the motion was denied on March 13th, and he tried ever since. He filed motions. The judge died. Judge Battle died with his head on James Earl Ray's application for a new trial, died in his chambers with his head on those papers at the end of March. James was denied that trial.
When a sitting judge dies, normally such a case when a motion is pending, it is granted. There were two motions pending before that judge. One was granted. One was not. James Earl Ray remained in prison. I mean, I didn't intend to belabor Mr. Ray's innocence, but I believe firmly he is innocent, he was an unknowing patsy in this case and he was used.
As far as Ms. Spates' testimony, I did refer to it earlier. The statement that you heard read under oath in her deposition were paragraphs specifically from an affidavit that she had given subsequently to her interview by the TBI and the Attorney General's Office here. And from what she told me, that was a horrifically-pressured interview that they gave her, was distorted inaccurate, untruthful, and that's why she gave that other story. And she reluctantly put Mr. Jowers right in the middle of it.
Now, having said all of that, Mr. Garrison is quite right, you can read the Attorney General's report. Take a look at it. Remember one thing when you take a look at it. The man who headed that investigation sat there. He was one of the witnesses Mr. Garrison called that we were able to examine before the Court of Appeals said you are not going to talk to any of those people.
Mr. Glankler sat in that chair. I just gave him a sampling of names, gave him twenty-three names. Do you recall that? I asked him if he interviewed these people in his investigation, these witnesses with vital evidence that you've heard, twenty-three.
Do you know how many he actually interviewed? I recall I think it was two. That's the investigation the Attorney General's Office did. That just speaks for itself, in my view. So I would look at the report in that kind of context. As to the House Select Committee investigation, Representative Fountroy is very uncomfortable with the results of that investigation, very unhappy, has been for a number of years. He has indicated that they didn't have enough time, they could have perhaps done better if they had more time.
At other times he said the staff he thinks misled them. Fountroy was never happy with the results of that investigation. And I think he has made that quite clear.
Raoul, the evidence on Raoul speaks for itself. Mr. Jowers himself has identified Raoul. Mr. Jowers identified Raoul from the spread of photographs that I showed him when Dexter King and I met. He knows who Raoul was. He identified him as the man who came into the restaurant who Liberto sent in.
Now, one thing Mr. Garrison and I do agree on -- we agree on a lot of things, actually, but one thing in particular, is that Mr. Jowers is a small part of this whole thing. He owned this cafe, and he did have a debt, an obligation, to Mr. Liberto, and he was prevailed upon to become involved in this assassination. He didn't go out looking for it. He was prevailed upon to be involved.
I'm not really certain about how much money he got for his involvement. I think he got a substantial amount of money. I think that is what the stove money was all about. But I'm not certain of that. We will never know that, I suppose.
Mr. Jowers has unburdened himself to the King family. He has -- it is late in his life. And for whatever reason, he has come forward and he has, as Mr. Garrison has told you, voluntarily told elements of the story.
We believe that that is what he has done.
He has just told elements of the story protecting himself to the extent that he can because he is worried about being ultimately indicted. We think foolishly so because we don't think there is any interest in that, but that is his fear.
What, however, we don't believe, is that Mr. Jowers was unknowingly involved.
We've put into evidence the Prime Time Live interview with Sam Donaldson, and in that interview and in the transcript of that it is very clear -- he tells different nuances of the story, but it is very clear that he knew what was going on, he knew what was happening.
Both Ambassador Young and Dexter King have said the one thing they didn't believe about him is when he said he didn't know. You can understand why he would say that, because he is talking to the son of Martin Luther King, Jr., the son of the victim is sitting right in front of him. How does he -- with eyes together how does he say I knew, I was a part of this, I was a knowing part of it? So he said, I don't know. We just don't believe that.
And we believe the evidence of Bill Hamblin, who said McCraw told him what happened to that rifle, but he told him when he was drunk over a period of fifteen years each time. It might be very right that McCraw would lie when he was sober. But when he was drunk, Hamblin said, you may recall, he was straight, he told him the truth, and he told him the same detail again and again and again. If he had been sober and he would tell him one story and then another, then you would say there was some prevarication, maybe it was not true, but Hamblin said it was the same story again and again and again but only would discuss it when he was intoxicated.
On the basis of all of that, we believe that Mr. Hamblin is telling the truth, that that murder weapon is at the bottom of the Mississippi River where it was thrown by Mr. McCraw.
So that is basically it, ladies and gentlemen. I think that you have to keep in mind that no matter how small the part Mr. Jowers played in this whole sorry episode, he nonetheless played a part and is a conspirator. He is guilty, libel in this court. He is libel in this court of conspiracy because he was involved.
Irrespective of James Earl Ray, and I believe in respect of James' memory -- he is not here to defend himself, but I had to give you information about him -- but irrespective of that, even if you found that James was involved and up to his neck, that does not absolve Mr. Loyd Jowers, neither does it absolve the governments and the government agents who have been involved in this case.
So a verdict of an existence of conspiracy, as Mr. Garrison said, quite rightly, does mean that there is a conspiracy, and it involves all of the elements that you have seen here today, and the award of damages, nominal though it is, is to be -- is also to be a part of your verdict.
Thank you very much. Once again, please, we're asking you to send this message from this courtroom across the land. Though they will not know the details what you have heard probably ever, unless researchers want to come in and read all of this, they will not be able at least to suppress the mighty Whirlitzer sound of your verdict.
That's the message that we ask you to send from this courtroom to the rest of this country and indeed the world who are concerned about the assassination of Martin Luther King and his loss to civilized mankind.
Thank you.
(Jury charge not transcribed.)
(3:02.)
THE COURT: I understand the jury has reached a verdict. I'm going to bring them out. They've indicated that they want a picture of themselves. So I'm authorizing this gentleman to take one picture. He is going to make sure there are no additional copies. I'll have copies made of them and send them to the jurors.
(Jury in.)
THE COURT: All right, ladies and gentlemen. I understand you reached a verdict. Is that correct?
THE JURY: Yes (In unison).
THE COURT: May I have that verdict.
(Verdict form passed to the Court.)
THE COURT: I have authorized this gentleman here to take one picture of you which I'm going to have developed and make copies and send to you as I promised. Okay. All right, ladies and gentlemen. Let me ask you, do all of you agree with this verdict?
THE JURY: Yes (In unison).
THE COURT: In answer to the question did Loyd Jowers participate in a conspiracy to do harm to Dr. Martin Luther King, your answer is yes. Do you also find that others, including governmental agencies, were parties to this conspiracy as alleged by the defendant? Your answer to that one is also yes. And the total amount of damages you find for the plaintiffs entitled to is one hundred dollars. Is that your verdict?
THE JURY: Yes (In unison).
THE COURT: All right. I want to thank you ladies and gentlemen for your participation. It lasted a lot longer than we had originally predicted. In spite of that, you hung in there and you took your notes and you were alert all during the trial. And we appreciate it. We want you to note that our courts cannot function if we don't have jurors who accept their responsibility such as you have.
DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI, RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD
(901) 529-1999
COURT REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE
STATE OF TENNESSEE:
COUNTY OF SHELBY:
I, BRIAN F. DOMINSKI, Reporter and Notary Public, Shelby County, Tennessee,
CERTIFY:
The foregoing proceedings were taken before me at the time and place stated in the foregoing styled cause with the appearances as noted;
Being a Court Reporter, I then reported the proceedings in Stenotype to the best of my skill and ability, and the foregoing pages contain a full, true and correct transcript of my said Stenotype notes then and there taken;
I am not in the employ of and am not related to any of the parties or their counsel, and I have no interest in the matter involved.
WITNESS MY SIGNATURE, this, the ____ day of ___________, 1999.
___________________________ BRIAN F. DOMINSKI
Certificate of Merit Holder; Registered Professional Reporter, Notary Public for the State of Tennessee at Large My commission expires: April 14, 2001.
DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI, RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD
(901) 529-1999

Magda Hassan
03-24-2010, 01:07 AM
Jury selection begins. It is closed to the public. The Memphis Commercial Appeal is granted permission to file an appeal against the public being excluded for jury selection.
1

THE CIRCUIT COURT OF SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE
THIRTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT AT MEMPHIS
_____________________________________________

CORETTA SCOTT KING, MARTIN
LUTHER KING, III, BERNICE KING,
DEXTER SCOTT KING and YOLANDA KING,

Plaintiffs,

Vs. Case No. 97242-4 T.D.

LOYD JOWERS and OTHER UNKNOWN
CO-CONSPIRATORS,

Defendants.
_____________________________________________

BE IT REMEMBERED that the above-captioned cause came on for Trial on
this, the 15th day of November, 1999, in the above Court, before the
Honorable James E. Swearengen, Judge presiding, when and where
the following proceedings were had, to wit:
VOLUME I
DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI,
RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD & PARKER
COURT REPORTERS
22nd Floor, One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 529-1999

DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI, RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD
(901) 529-1999
2

- APPEARANCES -
For the Plaintiffs:
MR. WILLIAM PEPPER
Attorney at Law
575 Madison Avenue, Suite 1006
New York, New York 10022
(212) 605-0515

For the Defendant:
MR. LEWIS K. GARRISON, Sr.
Attorney at Law
100 North Main Street, Suite 1025
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 527-6445

For The Commercial Appeal:
MR. LUCIAN T. PERA
Attorney at Law
Armstrong, Allen, Prewitt, Gentry
Johnston & Holmes, PLLC
80 Monroe Avenue, Suite 700
Nashville, Tennessee 38103
(901) 524-4948
Reported by:
MS. MARGIE J. ROUTHEAUX
Registered Professional Reporter
Daniel, Dillinger, Dominski,
Richberger & Weatherford
2200 One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103

DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI, RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD
(901) 529-1999
3

P R O C E E D I N G S

THE COURT: Mr. Garrison, are you all ready?
MR. GARRISON: Ready.
THE COURT: Let me see the lawyers in chambers before we get started.
(Brief break taken.)
THE COURT: All right. Are we ready to proceed?
MR. GARRISON: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: If there are any members of the media, we're going to ask you
to excuse yourself until after the jury selection process. All right, Mr. Sheriff,
you can get us some jurors.
THE COURT: All right, Mr. Pepper, who are these additional people with you?
DR. PEPPER: They're all with us, part of our team.
THE COURT: Are they going to participate in the trial?
DR. PEPPER: Only as assistants, that's all.

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THE COURT: I normally introduce those parties who are going to participate.
And if they are, I need their names.
DR. PEPPER: You want me to write them down for you, Your Honor?
THE COURT: That has dual purposes -- for my convenience and then, in
addition to that, once we have called their names, we're in a position to
ask the jurors if they're familiar with their names.
DR. PEPPER: Sure. (Brief break taken.)
MR. PERA: Your Honor, for many years -- and I should first say, Your Honor,
that all I know about this situation is what I've learned in the last 15 minutes.
But as I say, for the record, I do represent The Commercial Appeal. I'm a little
out of breath. But my name is Lucian Pera. And since at least 1984 when the
Supreme Court decided the Press Enterprise case -- Press Enterprise versus Superior
Court of California. And the cite on that I can give you which is 464 U.S. 501.

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In 1984 the Supreme Court has made it clear, as has virtually every court in the
nation -- has addressed the issue that there is a constitutional right on the part
of members of the public and, therefore, members of the press to attend jury voir
dire proceedings in court. I would add, Your Honor, that in Tennessee there have
been at least two cases on this point -- I believe three. The first one of which
is State versus Drake which is a 1985 case which squarely follows the analysis in
what are called the quartet of cases of which Press Enterprise is a part from the
U.S. Supreme Court. And that case requires that if there is a closure of any part
of a trial that there must be under the constitution specific findings by the Court
on a motion by a party that there will be prejudice if there's not a closure and
specifically how the closure is tailored as narrowly as possible to meet the
compelling interest of preventing prejudice.
The Supreme Court of Tennessee

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requires written findings. There have been at least two other cases since then,
Your Honor. I don't -- I can't cite you the precise name on this short of notice,
but I will remind the Court of one the Court may be familiar with arising from
this county. I believe it was in front of a criminal court judge across the street.
And essentially what happened is that there was -- it was a rather horrible
gang-related murder case. In fact, it was one in which I believe the victims were
literally buried alive. There were claims of misconduct ongoing in the midst of the
trial. In fact, the Court itself was under 24-hour armed guard at home and at the
office -- at the court. During the course of that trial, the judge heard testimony
from witnesses obviously. And one of the witnesses who had testified was to testify
again. The Court imposed a gag order essentially closing the trial implicitly and
saying that the reporters might not print the name of that witness who had already

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testified in open court and who was to further testify as a rebuttal witness. The
Court expressed very specific concerns about safety, that the witness might flee,
that the trial might be jeopardized for that reason. And the Court of Appeals --
excuse me, I think it was the Court of Criminal Appeals -- specifically and flatly
and firmly reversed that ruling and said that what goes on in open court is open,
and the constitution requires that it be so, and again reaffirming State vs. Drake
relying on Press Enterprise. So, Your Honor, with that thought in mind -- again,
I've not been privy to the discussions here about what the problem were that
were sought to be addressed, and I apologize to the Court for not being prepared
in that respect. But I would urge the Court to not close this hearing to members
of media including my client, The Commercial Appeal.
THE COURT: All right.
MR. PERA: And, Your Honor, I might finally request that in compliance with

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State versus Drake, whatever the Court's decision there, that there be specific
findings of fact tailored to address the issues under Press Enterprise.
THE COURT: All right. First of all, I would like to refer you to Supreme Court Rule 30, Media Guidelines, under Section C(2) which reads as follows: "Jury selection. Media
coverage of jury selection is prohibited."
MR. PERA: Your Honor, it's my -- am I interrupting? I can look at the rule, Your Honor,
but it's my impression that Rule 30 addresses television coverage and similar media coverage. To the extent that that rule, Your Honor, either says or is interpreted to mean that voir dire may be closed by a court without constitutional foundation, the specifics which are very clear -- I can cite them to the Court if I can get my hands on State versus Drake.
If that rule says that or means that or the Court interprets it to mean that, then
it is unconstitutional, Your Honor.

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THE COURT: Well, let me further refer you to Section D, and that section deals with limitations. And under 2 it says:
"Discretion of Presiding Judge." That's me.
"The presiding judge has the discretion to refuse, limit, terminate or temporarily
suspend media coverage of an entire case or portions thereof in order to 1.) Control
the conduct of proceedings before the Court.
2.) Maintain the quorum and prevent distraction. 3.)" -- and this one I am concerned
with --"Guarantee the safety of any party, witness or juror." This case is such that
I feel that the jurors should be protected from public scrutiny and that the public
shall not be aware of who they are. I don't want -- and I'm going to assure them when
we voir dire them that they will remain anonymous. And for that reason they will feel
free to participate in the trial process. That's my ruling.
MR. PERA: Your Honor, may I be heard on this point?

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THE COURT: No. I've ruled. I have ruled.
MR. PERA: Okay. Your Honor, meaning no disrespect, may I ask -- may I ask a question?
THE COURT: Yes, sir.
MR. PERA: Has this Court considered or has it been proposed to the Court that the jurors remain anonymous and therefore that proceedings be allowed to take place in open court
with, for example, members of the public and/or media present but nevertheless with the jurors remaining anonymous? Has that been considered, Judge?
THE COURT: No, sir, because I don't feel that that's a viable solution.
MR. PERA: May I ask a further inquiry, Your Honor?
THE COURT: Yes, sir.
MR. PERA: Is it the Court's ruling that the entire trial is going to be held in secret?
THE COURT: No, sir. Once the jury selection process is completed, then it

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will be open to the media as prescribed by court rules with cameras and with reporters
and all of that. This court is not excluding the media from the trial proceeding, but it
is excluding them from the jury selection process.
MR. PERA: Well, Your Honor, again -- the Court knows me, and the Court knows that I'm not inclined to argue with a ruling once it's been made. But since I'm getting into this so late, Your Honor, I have to inquire further. Your Honor, if -- I'm not at all sure I understand how this is tailored narrowly under the guidelines of the constitution.
I mean, for example, Your Honor, if -- if the identities of the jurors is what the Court is trying to protect, then -- and not, for example, their answers to the questions of one of the parties as to their particular biases or lack of biases, it seems to me that the Court might consider having the jurors, as has been done across the country, I think the Court is probably aware

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of this -- having the jurors remain anonymous and have the parties to the case and the
Court refer to them in whatever way would do so anonymously but, nevertheless, allow the
questioning that goes to, for example, bias -- their views on particular subjects to
be explored in open court as the constitution requires. I would urge that upon the Court
as a remedy that has been used elsewhere. And it would not trample on the First Amendment
but it would, nevertheless, meet the Court's concerns.
THE COURT: I'm going to deny your request.
MR. PERA: Your Honor, when -- you're ruling then that until voir dire is complete and the jury is sworn that this hearing is closed both to members of the press and the public?
THE COURT: I'm not excluding the public, no, sir.
MR. PERA: So I can sit here for example?

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THE COURT: You may, yes, sir. But if you do, then you would be under a gag order. As an officer of the Court you could sit, yes, sir.
MR. PERA: But another member of the public could be present and not be under some sort of gag order?
THE COURT: I'm going to exclude all members of the public, as a matter of fact, during the jury selection process. I'm not going to let reporters come in here and say, at this time I'm not a reporter, I'm just a member of John Q. Public.
MR. PERA: Okay, Your Honor. I just wanted to make sure I understand your ruling then. The hearing is closed to members of the press and the public until the jury is sworn.
THE COURT: And the public. And the public, yes, sir.
MR. PERA: May I -- I assume that what has transpired here so far, I'm under no gag order; is that correct, Your Honor? Because I may well be instructed by

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my client to pursue appellate relief. THE COURT: You are free to do that.
MR. PERA: Okay. I just want to make sure that we understand each other. Thank you. Appreciate it, Your Honor.
MR. GARRISON: In the Court's ruling I think Your Honor did the proper thing.
(Brief break taken.)
(By Order of the Court, the Jury Selection portion of the trial was not transcribed.)

MR. PERA: I would like to apply for permission to appeal under Tennessee Rule
of Appellant Procedure 9 from the Court's earlier ruling.
THE COURT: Oh, yes. Of course.
MR. PERA: Thank you, Your Honor. I assumed so. Your Honor, may I present an order on that either this afternoon or in the morning?
THE COURT: You may.

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MR. PERA: Thank you, Your Honor.
(Lunch Recess.)

(Jury Selection resumed.)
THE COURT: All right. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have completed our process. We have
12 jurors now and two are alternates. So the rest of you I'm going to excuse and thank you for your patience, and you can report to the main jury room tomorrow at 9:30.
All right. Now that we have selected or jurors and alternates, we would ask to you please stand and take the official oath as jurors in the case.
THE CLERK: Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your right hand.
(Whereupon the jury was sworn in.)
THE CLERK: Okay. Please be seated.
THE COURT: All right. Normally at this stage we would begin our trial which would be the rendering of an opening

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statement by the lawyers. That is they would tell you what they expect the proof to be as
it develops in the case, and then we would start to hear the witnesses in the case. But
because of the hour, I'm going to excuse you and ask you to be here tomorrow at 9:45 so
that we can get started promptly at 10 o'clock, reminding you that you should not speak
with the lawyers or the witnesses or anyone else involved in the case and that you should have no contact with the media. I think -- I'll have some additional instructions for you tomorrow before we start to hear the proof. You should not go back to the main jury room for any reason. You come directly here from now on which means that you don't report at the regular 9:30 thing over there. Just come right here. Mr. James will show you our jury facility back here, and that's where you should congregate until you come out as a group.
We would ask you -- sometimes the jurors would sit out in the hall and do things of that sort before the trial begins

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in a normal case. But because of the nature of this one and because we don't want you to
be exposed to the media, we would ask you to please not congregate in the hallways out
there. If there are smokers in the crowd, then during our breaks, you can feel free to
go down and do your smoking or whatever else just as long as you don't have any contact
with the media. If we -- if for any reason we need to take a comfort break on your behalf, we're very considerate, we'll do that. We want this to be a pleasant experience for you.
But it's a serious matter, and let's not forget that. All right.

(Court adjourned until 11/16/99 at 10:00 a.m.)

DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI, RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD
(901) 529-1999

Magda Hassan
03-24-2010, 01:29 AM
Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., currently-Founder, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.
Dr. Cobey Smith, founder, The Invaders (Black Organizing Project)-1968, educator consultant (current)
Mr. Charles Cabbage, Executive Secretary, The Invaders
Mr. John McFerren, founder, Fayette County Civic & Welfare League and local businessman
Mr. Nathan Whitlock, taxicab driver, musician
Captain Thomas Smith, Memphis Police Department, Homocide Detective (1968), currently retired
Mr. Charles Hurley, advertising manager, National Food Stores, Memphis (1968), Division Manager, Save-A-Lot Food Stores (current)


IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF SHELBY COUNTY,
TENNESSEE FOR THE THIRTIETH JUDICIAL
DISTRICT AT MEMPHIS
_______________________________________________

CORETTA SCOTT KING, et al,
Plaintiffs,
Vs. Case No. 97242
LOYD JOWERS, et al,
Defendants.
_______________________________________________
PROCEEDINGS
November 16th, 1999
VOLUME II
_______________________________________________
Before the Honorable James E. Swearengen,
Division 4, judge presiding.
_______________________________________________
DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI,
RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD
COURT REPORTERS
Suite 2200, One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 529-1999


19
- APPEARANCES -

For the Plaintiff: DR. WILLIAM PEPPER
Attorney at Law
New York City, New York

For the Defendant:
MR. LEWIS GARRISON
Attorney at Law
Memphis, Tennessee

Court Reported by:
MR. BRIAN F. DOMINSKI
Certificate of Merit
Registered Professional
Reporter
Daniel, Dillinger, Dominski, Richberger & Weatherford
22nd Floor
One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103


20
- INDEX -
WITNESS: PAGE/LINE NUMBER

CORETTA KING

DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:........................ 53 22

CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. GARRISON:...................... 70 15

COBEY SMITH

DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:........................ 75 10

CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. GARRISON:...................... 96 16

REDIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:........................ 101 4

CHARLES CABBAGE

DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:........................ 102 10

CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 121 7

REDIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 127 18

JOHN McFERREN

DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 132 5

CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 155 10

REDIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 159 9


21
NATHAN WHITLOCK

DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 160 9

CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 184 4

THOMAS SMITH

DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 185 14

CHARLES HURLEY

DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 192 15

22

PROCEEDINGS

(November 16th, 1999, 10:15 a.m.)

MR. PERA: Your Honor, good morning. I have a couple preliminary matters related to the matter you have on trial. May I address the Court this morning?

THE COURT: Let me get my orders first.

MR. PERA: Okay. I thought that was done, Your Honor. That's why I approached.

THE COURT: Any additional orders? Okay. Go ahead, Mr. Pera.

MR. PERA: As you know, I'm Lucian Pera. I represent the Commercial Appeal. First, your Honor, I have an order on yesterday's proceedings as to our motion for access -- I have served this on counsel for the parties -- that both grants -- both denies my motion for access, grants our status as an intervenor for our limited


23
purpose and grants the Rule 9 motion that you orally granted yesterday.

THE COURT: All right.

MR. PERA: Does that meet with your approval, your Honor? There are two other matters, your
Honor, I want to present. One is a motion we filed this morning. As I understand it, although, of course, I wasn't here and my client wasn't in the courtroom, voir dire has been completed.
We have moved -- filed a motion with the Court, I'm not sure if the Court has received it yet, for access -- immediate access as soon as practicable to the transcript of voir dire proceedings. We have filed a motion and would ask the Court to grant us immediate access to the transcript of the voir dire proceedings held in this case.

THE COURT: Denied.

MR. PERA: Denied?

THE COURT: Uh-huh.

MR. PERA: May I, Your Honor --

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I'll obviously give a moment to counsel. I'm anticipating one of two possible results. I've actually prepared an order. Since I know my client may be interested in an appeal, I will share this with Mr. Pepper and Mr. Garrison.
There is one other matter, Your Honor. That is my partner Ms. Leizure is in a better position to address it than I. We know the Court has granted access to the trial to the broadcast media, but under Rule 30 we would also, as the Court knows, do use still photographers and would request and have filed a motion yesterday afternoon by access by one of our still photographers to the courtroom.
If the Court needs to hear that addressed from a legal point of view under Rule 30, my partner, Ms. Leizure, can address that.

THE COURT: As for still photography, I'll have to refer to the rule, which does allow it, but it is limited.

MS. LEIZURE: Your Honor, I

25

believe the provisions are that you can limit it to two still photographers.

THE COURT: Who are you?

MS. LEIZURE: I'm sorry, Your Honor. I'm Kathy Leizure. I'm Mr. Pera's partner. I represent the Commercial Appeal.

THE COURT: Kathy who?

MS. LEIZURE: I'm Kathy Leizure. I believe the provision is, your Honor, you can limit it to two still photographers who are using no more than two cameras each.

THE COURT: I intend to abide by the rule.

MS. LEIZURE: Okay, Your Honor.

THE COURT: It says if there are more than two, if we're going to have still photography in the courtroom, you'll have to work it out among yourselves. If they can't work it out among themselves, then I'm going to disallow all of it.

MS. LEIZURE: I understand, Your Honor. There is a provision in here for pooling arrangements, which I would be happy

26
to try to work out if I know, you know, what other media have been granted access pursuant
to this rule for still photography purposes.

THE COURT: I intend to abide by the rules. It is for that same reason that I disallowed the presence of media during the jury selection. All right. Assuming that there are no others who want to have still photographers in the room, I'll allow yours, but if it comes to a point where there are more than the rule allows, if you can work it out among yourselves, I'll do that. If not, as I said, I'm going to disallow all of them, because I'm not going to become involved in a dispute over who can and who cannot.

MS. LEISURE: I understand, Your Honor. I understand. So I will advise my client that they can bring the still photographer in within the provisions, the criteria and guidelines of the rules.

THE COURT: The other thing is that I have instructed all of them that they are not to photograph my jury.


27
MS. LEIZURE: That's right. That's certainly a provision that is in the rule. That's understood.

THE COURT: Yes.

MR. PEPPER: May I be heard, Your Honor?

MR. PERA: I've provided this order --

THE COURT: Just a moment. Go ahead, Mr. Pepper.

MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor. Your Honor, the family has its own still photographer who would like to be present in the courtroom and will abide by all of the rules. It is Mr. Benedict Fernandez, who for nearly forty years has followed the history of Dr. King's work and these proceedings.

THE COURT: All right. Those two, then.

MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor.

MR. PERA: Mr. Pepper, is this order okay.


28

MR. PEPPER: Yes.

MR. PERA: Your Honor, if I could pass the order for immediate access to is the transcript. Mr. Garrison and Mr. Pepper have approved that order, although I haven't actually signed that original. Thank you, your Honor. I appreciate you hearing us.

THE COURT: Yes. Mr. Garrison, are you ready?

MR. GARRISON: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Mr. Pepper?

MR. PEPPER: Yes.

THE COURT: Bring the jury out,

Mr. Sheriff.

(Jury in.)

THE COURT: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Glad to see that everybody made it this morning. Yesterday I inadvertently omitted one of the Court personnel. I should have introduced him. I have to constantly remind him that I'm elected by the residents of Shelby County and that he is not my boss. It is my court


29
clerk, Mr. Brian Bailey over here. I think I introduced everybody else. Before we begin the trial, I'm going to give you some preliminary facts that you can refer to during the course of this trial. Before the trial begins, I'm going to give you some instructions to help you
understand how the case will proceed, what your duties many be, and how you should conduct yourselves during the trial. When I have completed these instructions, the attorneys will make their opening statements. These statements will be brief outlines of what the attorneys expect to be evidence. After the opening statements, you will hear the evidence. The evidence generally consists of the numbered exhibits and testimony of witnesses. The plaintiffs will present evidence first. The defendant will then be given the opportunity to present evidence.
Normally the plaintiff presents all of the plaintiff's evidence before the other


30
parties present any evidence. Exceptions are sometimes made out of this usually to accommodate a witness. The witnesses will testify in response to questions from the attorneys. Witnesses are first asked questions by the party who calls the witness to testify, and then other parties are permitted to cross-examine the witness.
Although evidence is preserved my asking questions, the questions themselves are not evidence. Any insinuation contained in a question is not evidence. You should consider a question only as it gives meaning to the witness' answer. Evidence may be presented by
deposition. A deposition is testimony taken under oath before the trial and preserved in
writing or sometimes it will be videotaped. During the trial objections may be made to the evidence or trial procedures. I may sustain objections to questions asked without permitting the witness to answer or I may instruct you to disregard an answer that


31
has been given. In deciding this case you may not draw an inference from an unanswered
question, and you may not consider testimony that you are instructed to disregard. Any arguments about objection or motions are usually required to be made by the attorneys out of the hearing of the jury. Information may be excluded because it is not legally admissible. Excluded information cannot be considered in reaching your decision. A ruling that is made on an objection or motion will be based solely upon the law. You must not infer from a ruling that I hold any view or opinion for or against any parties to this lawsuit. When all of the evidence has been presented to you, the attorneys will make their closing arguments. The attorneys will point out to you what they contend the evidence has shown, what inferences you should draw from the evidence and what conclusions you should reach as your


32
verdict. The plaintiff will make the first argument and will be followed by the defendant. Plaintiff will then respond to the defendant's arguments. Unless you are otherwise instructed, statements made by the attorneys are not evidence. Those statements are made only to help you understand the evidence and apply the law to the evidence. You should ignore any statement that is not supported by the evidence.
After the arguments are made, I will instruct you on the rulings of law that apply to the case. It is your function as jurors to determine what facts -- what the facts are and apply the rules of law that I have given you to the facts that you have found. You will determine the facts from all of the evidence. You are the sole and exclusive judges of the facts. On the other hand, you are required to accept the rules of law that I give you, whether you agree with them or not.
As the sole judge of the facts, you


33
must determine which of the witness' testimony you accept, what weight you attach to it and what inferences you will draw from it. The law does not, however, require you to accept all of the evidence in deciding what evidence you will accept. You must make your own evaluation of the testimony given by each of the witnesses and determine the weight you will give to that testimony. You must decide which witnesses you believe and how important you
think their testimony is. You are not required to accept or reject everything a witness says. You are free to believe all, none or part of any person's testimony. In deciding which testimony you believe, you should rely on your own common sense and every-day experiences. There is no fixed set of rules to use in deciding whether you believe a witness, but it may help you to think of the following questions:
Was the witness able to see, hear or be aware of the things about which the witness testifies?
How well was the witness able to recall and

34
describe those things? How long was the witness watching or listening? Was the witness distracted in any way? Did the witness have a good memory? How did the witness look and act
while testifying? Was the witness making an honest effort to tell the truth or did the
witness evade questions? Did the witness have an interest in the outcome of the case? Did the witness have any motive, bias or prejudice that would influence the witness' testimony? How reasonable was the witness' testimony when you consider all of the evidence in the case?
There are certain rules that would apply concerning your conduct during the trial and during recesses that you should keep in mind. First, do not conduct your own investigation into the case, although you may be tempted do so. For example, do not visit the scene of an incident, read any books or articles concerning any issue in the case or consult any other source of information. If you were


35
to do that, you would be getting information that is not evidence. You must decide the case only on the evidence and law presented to you during the trial. Any juror who receives any
information about the case other than that presented at the trial must notify the Court
immediately. Do not discuss the case either among yourselves or with anyone else during the trial.
You must keep an open mind until you have heard all the evidence, the attorneys' closing arguments and my final instructions concerning the law. Any discussion before the conclusion of the case would be premature and improper.
Do not permit any other person to discuss the case in your presence. If anyone does attempt to do so, report that fact to the Court immediately without discussing the incident with any of the other jurors. Do not speak to any of the attorneys, parties or witnesses in the case even for the limited purpose of saying good morning. They are

36
also instructed not to talk to you. In no other way can all of the parties feel assured of your absolute impartiality. All right. There are a couple of additional comments I would like to make. I know that when you are over in the big room, the jury commissioner probably tells you don't ever leave anything lying around. I just want you to know that we have not had any unhappy experiences, that your personal affects are considered to be safe in the jury room.
So if you have sweaters or coats or lunches or whatever else, then you can feel pretty safe leaving them back there while you are here or while you are gone to lunch. Also, if we need to take a comfort break, let us know and we'll be glad to accommodate you. We want to make this a pleasant experience for everyone. We would ask you to be on time whenever we are supposed to congregate. We'd hate to have to be waiting on someone who is disrespectful of the others and for some

37
reason couldn't make it on time.
Finally, I know that sometimes, usually after lunch, but any time of day you can become weary and just can't keep your eyes open. So I am going to designate each of you and authorize you to nudge your neighbor if you catch them dozing on us. All right. As I promised, the attorneys will give their opening statements, that is, they will tell you what they expect the proof to be in this case. After they have done that, we will begin to hear the proof.
As I told you, this is a case on conspiracy. Conspiracy I guess in general terms would mean carrying out a design or plan where two or more have agreed to commit an act to do injury or damage. And the planning, of course, is not enough. They have to, in addition to the planning, do an act pursuant to that plan in order to be a co-conspirator.
All right. The plaintiff will begin. Then after the defendant has given

38
their opening statement, we will start to hear the proof in the case.
Mr. Pepper.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. On the 3rd of April, 1968, loving husband, father of four young children kissed his family goodbye and left for Memphis, Tennessee. He would never return. They would never see him alive again.
On the 4th of April, 1968, approximately one minute past six in the evening as he stood on a balcony overlooking a parking area of the Lorraine Motel, he was felled by a single bullet, never regained consciousness and died shortly thereafter.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of this story. The plaintiff in this case, the victim, was a husband and a father, but he also was a prophetic figure in American history. He had been a civil rights leader as a young man after school and in his early pastor's years, but he moved beyond


39
that calling, beyond that calling on behalf of the poor in the southern part of this
country, in this area of this country, to become an international figure concerned with
the plight of poor people, economic injustice and with the issues of peace and war.
So as he grew in his leadership and his calling, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. With that award he became truly an international figure, not a regional pastor fighting for justice on behalf of his people. He then turned his attention to the plight of poor people and the effect of war.
He came out strongly during the last year of his life to oppose the war in Vietnam because he saw it destroying an ancient culture and civilization that had so much in common with the plight of black people and the poor everywhere in the world. So he opposed that war.
He also turned his attention to the plight of poor people, the growing numbers of poor in the United States, and had put together a poor people's campaign that was to


40
descend on Washington D.C. in the spring of 1968, the very spring in which he was
assassinated. That March an encampment did come off but without its leader. As such, it is history now that it did not have the impact that it might have had on the Congress of the United States. The victim was, of course, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...
The defendant in this case, Mr. Loyd Jowers, who owned Jim's Grill, which was at the ground floor of a rooming house on South Main Street in Memphis at the time. It no longer exists, but the building is still there.
Your Honor has quite correctly advised you not to go near the scene of this crime because it has changed so much over the years. It would only be very confusing for you. That is the reason for that instruction.
At that time and now that building backed onto an area, like a vacant lot area or a backyard. That backyard was covered with brush and bushes, and beyond it was the Lorraine Motel and the balcony on which

41
Martin Luther King stood when he was assassinated. The defendant managed and owned that grill, and the plaintiffs will attempt to prove that the wrongful acts and conduct of this defendant led to the death of Martin Luther King from behind his very premises, from the bushes, the brush in that area.
Now, by way of disclosure to you, counsel for both parties have agreed not to conduct any interviews with the media, not to talk to the press at all, during the course of this trial. The Court has so instructed you with respect to that. We think that is a most important
instruction, and, in addition, plaintiffs would hope that you would think carefully
about the issues of this case and the facts that are presented and the evidence that
comes before you and not considering what is on television or radio or in the newspapers
regarding this case.
We would ask you please consider staying away from any coverage of that sort

42
and make your decision solely on what you hear in this courtroom. It is most important.
Also by way of disclosure I have the obligation to tell you that I was a friend and a colleague of the victim in this case during only the last year of his life. Years later I began to look into the facts of this case and ultimately became convinced that the man accused of the crime was not guilty and undertook to represent him and was his lawyer for the last ten years of his life.
He died in prison, never having a trial on the evidence in the case. And the plaintiff family decided that this man also was innocent of the crime and decided to come out and support a trial for him a few years before he died.
Now, the Court has properly instructed you with respect to the nature of the evidence. There will be mostly live witnesses, but there will also be some deposition evidence that you will hear, some affidavits, some public statements, and the

43
Court will advise you as to the range of voracity you should put on any evidence that is admitted in this Court. But it will not all be live testimony, although indeed most of it will.
With respect to the plaintiff's proof, it is -- the case will be divided into a variety of sections. It is important to us that you consider those sections in the order as it appears.
There will be a general introductory background area of the case that will familiarize yourself with what led up to this wrongful death so that will be hopefully as clear to you as can be.
There will then be evidence laid before you that will indicate that in fact the fatal bullet was fired from the brush area behind the rooming house, from a row of bushes that were very tall and thick where a sniper lay in wait and fired the shot. So that section will deal with the bushes.
There will be a section of proof that will deal with the rifle that is in evidence that is alleged to have caused the

44
death of Dr. King. And the proof that the plaintiffs will put forward will demonstrate to you that in fact the rifle in evidence is not the murder weapon and that the murder weapon was disposed of in another way.
Plaintiffs will advance proof that there were a number of other people involved. As Your Honor has correctly told you, of course a conspiracy involves more than one. Whilst this case is focusing in a civil court on Mr. Jowers as the defendant, there were other people involved. And some of those individuals will be developed in evidence.
In particular one individual will be developed in evidence who was critical to the coordination of a lot of these activities and who is beyond the reach of this Court, although will be invited, has been invited, and will be invited to attend, but was a part
of this conspiracy, this collaboration with Mr. Jowers.
Now, defendants have in their answer, their amended answer, indicated that

45
if liability results, and counsel has mentioned that yesterday, if liability results, attaches to his client, that it should also attach to other agencies and individuals.
Because that door is open, plaintiffs will advance evidence of the extent and the scope of this conspiracy so that you understand the umbrella under which the defendant was operating, so it is clear to you the kind of total picture in which he found himself as he carried out his wrongful acts which led to this death.
One indication of this conspiracy, why we are here thirty-one years later in this courtroom in Memphis, Tennessee, is the suppression of the truth, the cover-up that has lasted for so long and the effects of that cover-up in terms of people learning the truth and courts, such as this Court, being able to entertain proceedings designed to unearth that truth.
This cover-up itself and that section of the case would show you

46
indications of the wrong and will relate directly to the wrong itself that we are proving here and alleging here.
Now, because these witnesses will come from various parts of the country and various parts of the world, I must say, we've had to adjust to various schedules of people. So to some extent the evidence you hear up there may be disjointed. But what I ask you to consider is that each of the witnesses who testify with respect to facts will be putting forward to you a particular piece of this puzzle. And they are being called only for -- he or she will be called only for that particular piece. So you must discern what that is in each instance.
Yes, there will be an introductory statement so that you get to know the witness and who the witness is, get a feeling for whether he or she is credible. But beyond that there will be a piece of information. It would be very useful in our view for you, if you could, to take notes in the course of these proceedings. I know the

47
State I understand does not provide you with note paper or pads in this jurisdiction. But if you could provide yourselves with them just to make notes of particular facts that you think are relevant that a witness has testified to or an exhibit that you might want to look at further or later on during deliberations, that would be very helpful to you when you begin to refresh your own recollections, because there will be a lot of information coming out.
There will be a great deal of information coming out from a number of witnesses. You may very well expect to forget some of it unless you have noted it down so you understand what they said. I urge you to consider using that, to use some mechanical way of recalling what has happened.
I think that's basically it. I think plaintiffs believe that as a result of the evidence you will hear in this courtroom, that finally the truth will emerge in respect of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He often said that

48
truth-crushed earth will rise again. Well, I think plaintiffs sincerely hope that the
truth will be resurrected in this courtroom. And that as a result of the truth being
resurrected in this courtroom, the events, those horrible events of April 4th, 1968, will be unearthed and seen and understood.
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for the resurrection of truth with respect to that horrible day, April 4, 1968. And I suggest to you that some of the evidence you hear may go to the essence of this Republic and may in fact shake some of the foundations of this Republic. So important is this case, so important is the evidence, please consider it carefully and well.
We seek a verdict of liability against the defendant because he played a critical role in these events. But it goes well beyond him. And we're prepared to acknowledge and to establish that.
Thank you.

THE COURT: Mr. Garrison.


49
MR. GARRISON: If Your Honor please and Dr. Pepper and ladies and gentlemen, as you know, I'm Lewis Garrison. I represent Mr. Jowers, who is the defendant in this case.
I'd like to say this: I started forty years ago in this practice of law in August, and on April the 6th, 1968, I was about three hundred feet from this very spot in my desk when Dr. King was assassinated.
Now, Dr. Pepper and I agree on probably eighty percent of the things that he is advocating and stating to you. There are some areas that we do not agree upon. I'll touch on those now.
Ladies and gentlemen, April 4th, 1968, this city was racially divided. November 16, 1999, it is still racially divided. I'm sorry to tell you, it is. It is an error we need to work on, and I hope this trial will bring out some things that perhaps will have some bearing on that.
Mr. Jowers has been around the City of Memphis a long time. He is a former


50
police officer. When this occurred in 1968, he was operating a small restaurant called Jim's Grill.
Now, you'll find that any part that he -- he has conferred with Mr. Dexter King and Ambassador Young and told them some things that he knew and heard, but I think you will find that he was a very small part, if any -- if any -- in the assassination of Dr. King. He was simply operating a little restaurant down on South Main Street.
Anything that Mr. Jowers may have had to do with this certainly was unknown to him. He was never told that the target of an assassination was Dr. King. Certainly his feelings are that he was at sympathy with Dr. King and certainly for the things that Dr. King was seeking.
Certainly Ms. King and her family have been made to suffer more than any family should. There is no question about that. They've had to go through more than a family should have to go through. We're certainly in sympathy with them and have always been,

51
always have been behind Dr. King and the things that he was seeking. When I was growing up, not too far from here, we had separate rest rooms, separate water fountains, those type things, separate schools. It doesn't seem like it was very long ago. But after Dr. King came
along, those things came to some extent, but we still take too much of our rights for granted. It has not always been the way it is now.
In this trial you will hear from different persons that will bring forth things that you probably never heard before. For instance, there will be a police officer that will testify here about the United States government sending in agents just before Dr. King's assassination. You'll hear a lady here testify about a police officer who was her husband who was very prejudiced against people whose skin was not white.
You'll hear, ladies and gentlemen, from a gentleman who will also tell you that he had a chance to be with Mr. James Earl Ray


52
for some months before the assassination, and he'll provide information to you as to what
Mr. Ray disclosed to him as to how he escaped from the Missouri prison, who helped him, and
the purpose of it.
I think, ladies and gentlemen, you'll find in this case that Mr. Jowers was a very, very small cog in a big wheel, if he was a party at all. He never knowingly did anything that would have caused the death of Dr. King or brought any hardship on Ms. King or her family.
Now, this has been a long process. I've been involved it seems like forever. It has been many, many years. Dr. Pepper has been involved in this three times as long as I have. But this is the final chapter.
Whatever historians may write, your verdict will be the final chapter in this case. So in this case I think when you hear all the testimony here and all the proof that Dr. Pepper will offer and I'll offer, I'm going to be able to stand here and ask you not only if you find that Mr. Jowers had

53
anything to do with it, but there are others who are much more responsible than he was who
knew what they were doing and who brought about the commission of this hate crime. That's what it was. And that others are responsible and that they should be held liable instead of Mr. Jowers. It will be an interesting trial. I think that you will certainly find it interesting, and I hope that you do. If you will listen attentively, because this is a very important case in the history of this country.
Thank you.
THE COURT: Mr. Pepper, call your first witness, please.
MR. PEPPER: Plaintiffs call Mrs. Coretta Scott King to the stand. CORETTA SCOTT KING
Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows: DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Good morning, Mrs. King.


54
A. Good morning.
Q. Thank you for being here. I realize how stressful it is at the time, particularly
because of the gauntlet of the media out there. We're grateful for your presence. Could you just tell us by way of background what was the purpose of Dr. King's visit to Memphis, his involvement in Memphis and his coming here in 1968.
A. Martin came to Memphis to support the sanitation workers who were engaged in a strike for better wages and working conditions. He felt it was important to come to support them because they were working poor people.
Q. And how did the sanitation workers' strike and his support for that fit into the Poor People's March in Washington which had been planned for later on, the spring?
A. He felt that it was important that he give his support to them because they were a part of what he was really struggling to get the nation to understand, that people work full-time jobs but in a sense for part-time

55 pay. Even people who were poor who worked could not make a decent living. So they would then be invited to join the mobilization for the campaign which was to be held in Washington.
Q. Right. And was this support -- his support for the sanitation workers in Memphis and the plans for the Poor People's March in Washington to be covered by the umbrella of non-violence at all times?
A. Absolutely. He felt that -- as you know, his whole life was dedicated to non-violent struggle. Any time there was violence of any kind, it was very disturbing to him, and he disavowed it completely and whenever he had an opportunity to. He dedicated his life to helping people to understand the philosophy of non-violence, which he lived it as a way of
life. And so when he came to Memphis -- I don't know, Counsel, should I mention that he -- I don't want to get ahead of myself, but when he came to Memphis the first time and there was a march that he led


56
which his organization had very little to do with planning, that broke out in violence. It was very, very upsetting to him because most of the marches, I would say all of them, that he had led had always been mobilized with the support of the National Southern Christian Leadership Conference staff. Therefore, they were aware of any problems, any controversies that might exist, conflicts between groups and among groups. But he came that day from a trip, got off the plane and went straight to the head of the march. Of course, the march did
break out in violence. It was most disturbing to him. So when he -- when this happened, he
felt that it was very important for him to return to Memphis to lead a peaceful, non-violent march before he could go forth to Washington. He had to demonstrate that a non-violent march, a peaceful march, could take place in Memphis because of the criticisms that were being leveled at that time.

57
Q. So he returned to Memphis that last time because of the violence that broke out on the march of March 28th, and he was determined, from what you are saying, to restore the position of non-violence to the movement?
A. Yes, that's correct.
Q. Did he attribute -- did he have any idea why that march on March 28th turned violent? Did he have any notion of what caused that?
A. Well, I think he became aware that there was a local -- well, he thought at the time what was a local group of young people who really precipitated the violence. The feeling was that there were some forces behind them, that they were not just persons who decided that they would throw rocks and break windows.
Q. Now, what was behind or underlay his decision to come out against the war in Vietnam and to take on such a public political posture, if you will, which was quite a different change for him?


58
A. I must say that my husband had wanted to speak out against the war in Vietnam for many years before he actually did do so. He always -- he understood the conflict that existed in Vietnam from its inception. And he realized that it was an unjust war in the first place. Then it was being fought against, you know, people of color who were poor. And wars, of course, for him didn't solve any social problems but created more problems than they solved.
He felt that this particular war was not -- we could not win. Of course, history proved him right within a very short period of time after he spoke out. As a matter of fact, one year after he spoke out against the war, he was vindicated in that the nation had reversed itself and its policy toward that war.
That was April 4th, 1968, when he actually spoke out against the war in his first public statement. But he said he had to do it because his conscience -- he could no longer live with his conscience without


59
taking a position. He felt that doing so, perhaps he could help to mobilize other public opinion in support of his position, which was, again, against the war.
Q. Do you recall the reaction of other civil rights leaders at that time when he came out against the war?
A. Yes, I do. Civil rights leaders, other opinion makers, all criticized him, both black and white. It was certainly -- certainly he expected it, but he probably didn't expect some of the people who criticized him to do so publicly. His way in the non-violent way was to privately disagree and to go and talk to persons which are having a disagreement, but to be attacked publicly was very difficult for him. He also knew that if he spoke out, it would probably affect the support, the financial support, for his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. And, of course, it did very profoundly. He knew that before he took that risk and that position. So it wasn't


60
surprising, but, nevertheless, it was painful.
Q. Was there much discussion at the time about him running for public office because he was being pushed forward as a third-party candidate with Dr. Benjamin Spock as an alternative to Lyndon Johnson's being returned to office at that time? What do you recall about him moving in that direction of more serious political activity?
A. Well, I was aware of the fact that there was talk about his running for public office. It was interesting because from what I knew of him, I never thought that he would run for public office. Just knowing the kind of person he was, and because, you know, politics is very important and necessary, but he would be freer to make statements according to his conscience if he didn't run for public office, and because he was Christian minister and because he took his commitment so seriously, I felt that it would have been difficult for him. But at the same time I remember him



61
saying that because of the criticisms that he had gotten as he had spoken out against the
war, the media had stopped carrying any of his statements and they didn't understand --
no one was getting his message, because the message wasn't being carried forth. There were a number of critical articles and some cover stories that were very critical of him at that time. Time magazine, for instance, did one in 1967 that was extremely critical. He had been the Time man of the year in 1964 after the Peace Prize, and 1957 was the first time, so it
was, again, very painful for him not to be able to get his message out. So he said if I did run for office, it would be one way of getting my message out because I would have to be given equal time. The interesting thing about my husband, he always considered, you know,
every aspect of an issue, both the pros and the cons. And then he would make his mind up as to what he would do.
Q. Were there any comments that he made


62
the night before his departure to Memphis, that last trip, any indications that he had of potential danger or the seriousness of the task that he faced in Memphis?
A. I don't remember specific comments in that regard. But he had -- after he returned from Memphis after the violence broke out, which was like on a Friday evening, he went back on a Tuesday -- he went back on --
Q. He arrived on a Wednesday, the 3rd.
A. -- on Wednesday morning. But in between that time I was aware of how heavily it weighed on him, the problem of -- this whole problem of the sanitation workers' conflict and what he could do to help by getting his staff united. Because some of the staff didn't feel he should go to Memphis in the first place. He was very strongly in favor of that.
So he came home late -- I guess it was Tuesday evening he came in. There was not time to talk. He got up very early Wednesday morning to go to Memphis. He always called me, you know, almost every


63
night when he was on trips, so he didn't say whole lot about it, but I could tell that he had a lot of anxiety and it was very heavily weighing on his mind.
Q. Did he go through these times, and particularly this last year, manifesting an awareness that his life was in danger, that he had taken a path of action now that might have brought his life into danger?
A. Yes. I think he was aware of that certainly. I might say he was aware from the early days after Montgomery, Montgomery forward, but I think as he got closer toward this period of his life, he was even more acutely aware. Given the positions that he had taken, he realized that, you know, he could be killed at any time, but for him, his commitment to what he believed and to a higher authority was such that he didn't mind giving his life for a cause that he believed in.
He used to say that the end of life is not to be happy but to do God's will, come

64
what may. So for him being happy was when he could come out against the war against Vietnam. He said to a colleague, and I heard this on the telephone, I was the happiest man in the world when I could come out personally against this evil and immoral war, because I came to a point where I felt that silence was betrayal.
So that was -- I think that was his position.
Q. Mrs. King, on March 10th, 1969, one James Earl Ray entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison for the assassination of your husband. Mr. Ray
stayed in prison until he died. But he tried continually to get a trial. At one point the family decided to support an effort for a trial for Mr. Ray. Why did the family take that position that late in the day at that point in time?
A. Well, as a matter of fact, it was because he of new information that we had received and largely because of the efforts that you had put forth to investigate a

65 number of these leads that had come out and found that they were reliable enough. When we looked at it and investigated it, we felt then that we had to take a position. For years we hoped that somebody else would find out, find the answers. We wanted to know the truth. But
the truth was elusive.
We wanted to go on with our lives. We felt the only way we could do it was to really take the position that we did take, because the evidence pointed away from Mr. Ray, not that he might have not had some involvement but he was not the person we felt that really actually killed him.
THE COURT: Just a moment. I see this man aiming a camera at my jury. I don't know that he has been told not to.
DEPUTY JAMES: I've instructed him not to take it of the jury.
THE COURT: All right. Go ahead.
Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) What was the general reaction to the family as a result of that

66
position? Were there animosity? Were there attacks, lawsuits? What happened to the family, yourself and the children and the organization as a result of that position?
A. Well, there were a number of media articles that were negative toward the family. As a result of that -- there were several really and over a period of months, and as a result of it, we feel that there was some -- it had affected some of the support that we might have been able to receive for the King Center.
Q. Financial support?
A. Financial support, yes.
Q. Contributions?
A. Yes.
Q. Is that similar to what happened to SCLC back in 1967?
A. That's right.
Q. Mrs. King, why is the family bringing this action now thirty -- almost thirty-one years later against the defendant, Mr. Jowers?
A. Well, it has only been recently that

67
we realized the extent of Mr. Jowers' involvement. So we felt that it was important to bring it now. We're all getting older, I'll say, and, of course, we wanted to be able to get the truth, as much of it as we can, out before it gets later.
I don't know how much longer any of us will be around. That's not given. But the fact is that my family, my children and I -- I've always felt that somehow the truth would be known, and I hoped that I would live to see it. And it is important I think for the sake of healing for so many people, my family, for other people, for the nation. I think Martin Luther King, Jr., served this nation. He was a servant. He gave his -- he willingly gave his life if it was necessary. It is important to know, actually not because we feel a sense of revenge -- we never have.
We have no feeling of bitterness or hatred toward anybody. But just the fact that if we
know the truth, we can be free, and we can go on with our lives.

68
Q. Mrs. King, is the family seeking a large monetary award from Mr. Jowers as a
result of this action?
A. No, it is not about money. That's not the issue. I think what we're concerned about is the fact that certainly there is some liability by Mr. Jowers, but we're concerned about the truth, having the truth coming out, and in a court of law so that it can be documented for all. And we were hoping that this would be one way of getting to the truth.
MR. PEPPER: Mrs. King, thank you very much.
MR. GARRISON: If we could possibly take a short break before I ask my questions.
THE COURT: Very well. We will take a fifteen-minute recess.
(Jury out.)

(Short recess.)

THE COURT: Are you ready for the jury?

MR. GARRISON: Yes, if Your

69 Honor please.
THE COURT: Bring the jury out.
(Jury in.)
THE COURT: All right, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to read to you before we begin here the Court rules on taking notes. You are permitted to take notes during the trial. You may take notes only of verbal testimony from witnesses, including witnesses presented by deposition or videotape. You may not take notes during the opening statements or closing arguments or take notes of objections made to the evidence. You may not take notes during
breaks or recesses. Notes may be made only in open court while witnesses are testifying. Your notes should not contain personal reactions or comments but, rather, should be limited to a brief factual summary of testimony you think is important.
Please do not let your note-taking distract you and cause you to miss what the witness said or how the witness said it.


70
Remember that some testimony may not appear to be important to you at the time. The same testimony, however, may become important later in the trial. Your notes are not evidence. You should not view your notes as authoritative records or consider them as a transcript of
the testimony. Your notes may be incomplete or may have certain errors and are not an exact account of what was said by a witness.
All right. You may proceed, Mr. Pepper. Oh, would you like to cross-examine, Mr. Garrison?
CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Good morning, Mrs. King.
A. Goods morning.
Q. Ms. King, you and I met before and we've talked a few times. I've talked to your sons several times. Let me say this to you: I know it isn't easy for you to be the mother of four
children, but they are all fine, honorable

71 sons and daughters, very fine, honorable people and I know you are pleased with them. I know Dr. King would be.
Let me ask you, Ms. King, you've never been afforded the opportunity to come into a court of law such as this and be able to be a witness as a part of it, have you? When Mr. Ray had a hearing, you were not a party to that hearing, were you?
A. No.
Q. You never had an opportunity to come into a court of law before this to have a jury decide the issues in the case. Am I correct, please, ma'am?
A. That's correct.
Q. Let me ask you, did Dr. King before his assassination, sometime before he came to
Memphis, did he receive a lot of threats that you are aware of that may be hearsay? Was he
aware of a lot of threats?
A. Well, the morning that he was to come back to Memphis that second time, which was the final time, his plane was delayed because of threats that had come to him. I

72
understand that -- well, of course, over the years there had been threats on his life many
times.
Q. Do you recall, Ms. King, when Dr. King would appear at a place such as Memphis here who would plan his security? Do you know who was in charge of that or how they arranged for security for him? Did he have someone in his group that was responsible for it or did they rely on the local police department? Do you know how that was done?
A. I really don't know how that was handled except usually when he went into cities, the people who -- when he went to towns, the people locally, the committee locally that invited him, would handle the security.
Q. Let me ask you, Ms. King, when Dr. King returned from Memphis after the march, do you recall -- was there any particular group or any particular person that insisted he come back here a second time? Did he ever mention to you anything about any particular person or any group that insisted on him

73
coming back a second time?
A. I don't know about his coming back specifically, but I know about his coming initially. I think what he had said publicly before he left was that he was planning to come back. So I think there was that understanding that he would be coming back. How it came about I'm not sure.
Q. You mentioned earlier I believe that he seemed to be agonizing over the fact that he would return to Memphis. Was that because of the threat or because of the conditions here?
A. No, not because of the threats but just because it was so important that he lead a non-violent demonstration. Of course, there was an injunction. He had to get past the injunction as well. He took those -- his responsibility very, very seriously, because he knew that the nation and indeed the world was watching. In his own conscience he wanted to be clear that he was doing the right thing.
Q. Now, Ms. King, you are aware of the

74
fact that Mr. Jowers had met and conferred with Mr. Dexter King, your son, on one occasion, then again with Mr. Dexter King and Ambassador Young on another occasion. You have heard about that, I'm sure?
A. Yes, yes.
Q. Are you aware of the fact that Mr. Jowers stated to them each time he met with them that he was not aware of any of the acts he did that would lead up to the assassination of Dr. King, that whatever acts -- there was no mention of that to him, that he had no idea that whatever acts he may have been called upon he had no idea would lead to the assassination Dr. King? Are you aware of that?
A. I'm not aware of the conversation as much as I wasn't involved with it. So I couldn't speak to the detail of that.
Q. I see.
MR. GARRISON: I believe that's all. Thank you, Ms. King.
THE COURT: Any redirect?
MR. PEPPER: Nothing further,


75
Your Honor.
THE COURT: You may stand down, Ms. King.
(Witness excused.)
MR. PEPPER: Plaintiffs call Dr. Cobey Smith.
COBEY SMITH
Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Good afternoon, Dr. Smith.
A. Good afternoon.
Q. Thank you for coming here. Would you state your full name and address for the record, please.
A. Cobey Vernon Smith, 2240 Brown Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Q. And what is your occupation?
A. I'm an educator consultant.
Q. Were you a member of a group called the Invaders back in 1968?
A. Yes.
Q. You were an active member of that


76
group at the time of the assassination of Martin Luther King?
A. Yes.
Q. At the time of the sanitation workers' strike?
A. Yes.
Q. And when were the Invaders formed?
A. In 1967.
Q. Who formed that group?
A. I formed that group along with Charles Cabbage and John Smith.
Q. What was the purpose of the Invaders? What was their organizational purpose?
A. The purpose was to provide an organizational format for young people, for people in the City of Memphis. We really formed as a result of the Meredith march in Mississippi, which is when I first met Dr. King. Many of us who had gone down became active in organizing and became proponents of the black power movement. We saw ourselves as agents for liberation of our people throughout the country.

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I don't know whether people can really remember this, but in 1966 and 1967 it was extremely unsafe to walk the streets in cities like Memphis and southern cities across the country, cities all over. So we saw ourselves as an organizing tool to make people aware of the fact that we were a free people with all the rights and privileges of Americans, to operate and seek prosperity, equality and all the other things that were rightfully ours by law.
Q. So the Invaders were a local community-organizing group?
A. That's right.
Q. How were the Invaders funded? How were they financed?
A. Out of our own pocket. We received no real funding. We received one grant for the black organizing project, which is a grant I wrote in 1967. We received some jobs from the War on Poverty Commission. Cab and I were hired as thirty-dollar-a-week organizers in 1967, a job from which we were fired because we had


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affiliation with SNCC and other organizations.
Q. Would you tell the jury what SNCC stands for?
A. The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee.
Q. What was the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee?
A. It was a national organization which spent -- which really developed out of the civil rights movement which at its inception provided the foot soldiers for the civil rights movement, the young men and women who went out and desegregated lunch counters, students from all over the country, many from Memphis, incidentally, who became the cannon fodder for the movement, as a matter of fact. We would go out and do the organizing work, go into the rural areas, go into the cities, the colleges, the prisons, everywhere there was a need really to let people know the kinds of things that Dr. King and others had talked about were realities

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for us.
Q. Did you see yourself in a sense as foot soldiers, community-based foot soldiers, in that movement?
A. Well, you know, now that I'm a gray-haired old man, I don't want to be vain enough to say that. We really thought that we were a chosen few on a mission. We really saw ourselves as helping fulfill the American dream.
We were idealists for the most part. We were people born of desire to change the concept in America from its desegregated biased roots and its hatred for African-Americans to people who understood that we should enjoy the right to vote, the right to speak freely, the right to come and go as we please, to live where we wanted to, to seek an education, all those little things that people now seem to say we take for granted.
Q. With this background and this history and this organizational activity, was there a time when you associated -- became associated

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with Dr. King's activities in Memphis?
A. Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Q. When was that?
A. When the sanitation workers started their -- we did the basic street organizing, you might say, for the events that led up to the sanitation workers' strike. We went out and got the -- we told grown men that they had a right to petition government, to question police, to do all kinds of things. Then when the organization, the AFSCME, which is the American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees, started to organize its membership, many of its leaders came to us and they accepted our efforts to go out in the communities and gain support for the kind of people who needed this help. When you say this to somebody, it
probably sounds -- I don't know how to really describe it because this was a very dangerous
thing to do. You didn't have a right to go and talk to the city government about organizing its employees. That was against

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the law. You did not have a right to question a policeman if they stopped you and talked to you or if they asked you a question. And people were afraid. We didn't have many lawyers, judges, anything else, who would actually stand up to the kind of abuse that we were subjected to here in Memphis.
So when the sanitation workers got together and decided they would organize, they offered a list of things that they wanted, to be recognized as a union, to receive the same pay as white employees, other kinds of things, that seem so mundane to us now. That platform that they used, we had been using it for a few years since a man who is now a judge ran for public works commissioner.
So we were involved in this process actively trying to get it together. And that year when we became -- when the union kind of put itself together, the real hell broke loose in Memphis. The mayor decided that it would never be recognized. A group of

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ministers got together and decided that they would work in support of the union. We worked hard to get them to come in. And because we were having such great difficulty with the white community resisting this whole effort, with many people in the black community being threatened and who were afraid, the leadership of the strike itself decided to invite Dr. King here.
Dr. King was not only the greatest leader that we've ever had, he was a person who by his bearing and presence brought a kind of calm to the entire community, to those who were opposed to us. We understood because of our youth and our exuberance that sometimes we were not perceived as being ready to lead. There were people who were afraid of us because we would stop and ask questions.
Well -- or because we would even resist the kinds of pushing around that we received. Several days after the start of the strike itself, the sanitation workers had a march down Main Street, and the police took their

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cars and pushed them into the sidewalk.
Q. Do you know -- excuse me for interrupting. Do you know the date of that particular march?
A. No, I don't remember the exact date. But it was --
Q. Was it in February of 1967 or March of 1967?
A. It would have been in February.
Q. Early on in the strike?
A. Yes. Very early in the strike. A number of sanitation workers were injured. Before that happened, two men were killed, were crushed, in a garbage truck, one that automatically closed down and collected the garbage. That set off a fierce to resistance, a fierce resistance. When they had to march down Main Street and the police attacked them, dogs,
clubs, guns, beat the hell out of a lot of them, we really decided to ask for a more militant stance from the union itself.
This probably sounds pretty mundane, but prior to that time the religious leaders

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did not want to approach this as if it were a regular strike. Many of us had grown up in the -- with roots to the labor movement, just as we had to the civil rights movement. We believed, for example, that ASCFME should operate its strike just like the AFL-CIO or the Teamsters or anybody else and that we should stop the flow of trucks that were being driven by strike breakers, that we should end this garbage collection that was designed to break the strike. Well, we found ourselves in a greatly divided strike effort.
Many of the ministers and some of the black leaders in town were much more interested in compromising and going along with the edicts of the city administration. We did not want to see that occur. We wanted a full and legitimate recognition of the union. We wanted to make
sure that the rights of these employees were protected. Most of these men were from rural
West Tennessee, had been driven off the farm, had come in from places like Fayette County

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where they had been driven off the land in what we call the Tent City.
Q. The founder of Tent City will be testifying in these proceedings. So we can move from that. But let me move you onto the association with Dr. King. What was the relationship that emerged between the Invaders and SCLC, Dr. King's organization here in Memphis, related to the sanitation workers' strike?
A. Originally when Dr. King's people got here there was a kind of an uneasiness between the two organizations. In fact, there were -- there was a brief struggle, skirmish, that kind of occurred, some bad feelings, some other things. It took Dr. King's arrival here to ease those problems out, to kind of smooth that over.
We insisted on following the same principles that we had learned from Dr. King during the
Meredith march in Mississippi and other places.
Q. Did the Invaders with its relationship with SCLC play a role in the

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first march that Dr. King led here on the 28th of March, 1967, on behalf of the sanitation workers' strike?
A. We did not play an active role in that march because the night before, Reverend Jim Lawson and reverend H. Ralph Jackson came to the steering committee and presented a letter with bullets in it and said that they had been sent by the Invaders and that we had
threatened them. Consequently I ordered the members of our organization off the streets, not to participate.
Q. So the clergy-led steering committee received from somewhere --
A. From somewhere.
Q. -- a letter with some bullets in it?
A. Yes.
Q. And that was represented as having been sent by the Invaders?
A. That's right.
Q. It was taken as a threat by the more traditional civil rights groups here?
A. Yes. They were very annoyed with us. They didn't like our style. They didn't

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like the blue jeans, the long hair. I used to have hair.
Q. Dr. Smith, style aside, did the Invaders send that threat to --
A. No, no.
Q. -- to the organization?
A. Quite frankly, the protocol for groups like ours, if we intended on sending a message, we sent a message. We were not interested in showing --
Q. Let me move you on. You know the march on the 28th of March became violent?
A. Yes.
Q. That was perhaps the only violent march or march that turned violent that Dr. King ever led.
A. Yes.
Q. And you know that the Invaders have been blamed for causing that disruption.
A. Yes.
Q. And you know that Dr. King returned to Memphis to lead another march on his fatal trip here as a result of that violent march?
A. Yes.

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Q. Now, let me ask you, did the Invaders disrupt that march?
A. No.
Q. How was that march disrupted? Who disrupted that march, to the best of your knowledge?
A. We received --
Q. Strike that. Let me rephrase that. Did you conduct as an organization an investigation?
A. Yes. I personally conducted an investigation. I ordered a complete investigation to see if any of our people were involved. As I said, I put an order out that our people would not attend the march because we had already, once that letter had been sent with the bullets in it, we knew that we would receive the blame. Our people started to report the influx of other individuals who were coming in with Illinois license plates who were seen about town, who were seen on Beale Street by our affiliates on Beale Street, and who were members of several organizations, some the

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Black Egyptians out of East St. Louis, some reported to have been Blackstone Rangers out
of Chicago.
Q. So these were strangers that came to Memphis just prior to this march. Is that what you are saying?
A. That's right.
Q. Why would they have come to Memphis?
A. We have no idea, because usually when organizations came to town, they would contact us. The Black Egyptians did. Chuck Cohen and some other people did in fact contact our people in an appropriate fashion. The ones we were concerned about were unidentified.
This is very unusual, because the nature of the movement was such that people relied on each other for housing, for accommodations, for transportation, for information, for all kinds of things. The nature of the movement was a very communal kind of thing. Everybody helped everybody if we could.
Q. What did you learn about the

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disruption of that march and what do you know about -- from personal knowledge do you know
about how that march was disrupted?
A. That march was disrupted, in my opinion, by police and by agents from parts unknown who came here specifically to embarrass Dr. King and to disrupt the march. The FBI reports, classified reports that have since been released, indicate to me that through the informants that they -- they always black out the name of the informants -- always indicate that there were plans to disrupt our activities, to single out the individuals in my organization and
several other organizations as the kind of fall guys.
We were supposed to be the ones who would be blamed. Some indication was that the march was supposed to be stopped at Main Street and turned south on Main instead of being allowed to turn north where we were supposed to have had a warehouse with weapons in it and we were going to start a race war.
Q. This was the kind of rumor that you

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heard?
A. Yes, yes.
Q. As a result of the violent disruption of the march, Dr. King decided to come back to Memphis?
A. Yes.
Q. And the Invaders established yet a closer working relationship with him?
A. Yes.
Q. This time?
A. Yes.
Q. Were you going to work closely in the preparation of the next march?
A. Yes, yes. There were some essential problems with that first march. There were no marshals. There were no people on the march route who would establish what the perimeters of the march would be. In a disciplined march, you always have to have someone organize the flanks to keep the people separated from the pedestrians, so to speak, who would stand there, even though we encouraged people to join the march, the idea is you have to have very disciplined people

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who will not break windows, who will not run, who will not panic, who will not be afraid, in case we met force. The marshals were instructed to protect people, to show them how not to panic and cause themselves to be hurt. That didn't exist in the first march. In the second march, Dr. King made an agreement for the Invaders to participate in the march, to be marshals for the march, to protect individuals and to make certain that we were not blamed for things that ultimately happened in the first march.
Q. Just reverting quickly to the break-up of the first march, do you know which hotel Dr. King was taken to when that march turned violent?
A. Yes. He was taken to the Rivermont. It was a Holiday Inn flagship, which is now an apartment building. But when our people went up there, he had no guards on his room, they went straight to the room and were able to see Dr. King without anybody protecting him. We thought that was horrendous. We

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thought that that was -- we really were very afraid for Dr. King at that time.
Q. In the planning in which you were engaged in the second march, the march that Dr. King never made, the march which in fact became a memorial march for his death, did you take up rooms under the -- with the financial support of his organization?
A. Yes. Yes.
Q. Did you take up those rooms at the Lorraine Motel?
A. Yes.
Q. The very place where Dr. King was assassinated?
A. Yes. As a part of the organization.
Q. Do you recall how many rooms the Invaders had there?
A. They had two rooms.
Q. And how many Invaders were in those rooms at that time?
A. The total numbers probably ran to about twenty, from ten to twenty Invaders. Some would leave and come back. Other people would come. But around ten to twenty.

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Q. And this was a part of your working arrangement with Dr. King so you would be on site to plan with him. Is that right?
A. That's right. And to assist in SCLC's efforts in whatever fashion was required.
Q. Were the Invaders at some point summarily asked to leave the Lorraine Motel?
A. My field representatives called and reported they had been asked to leave the hotel, that they had been put out.
Q. When did that take place?
A. Just a little while before the assassination.
Q. On the day of April 4th?
A. On the day of April 4th.
Q. Close to the time of the assassination?
A. Yes. Within a few hours.
Q. Excuse me.
A. Within a few hours.
Q. Did the Invaders in fact leave the motel at that time?
A. Yes. It was a very difficult

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situation. Some Invaders were still there, but once put out of the room, the main body of our group had to do what they were asked to do. At the time that I received the report from the people in the field, they were also concerned about a number of other things.
There was no police presence. It was a very confused situation. We did not know who was in charge. Some of -- I could not get a clear answer about who gave the order to put the Invaders out of the hotel.
Q. We may come to that with other witnesses. But were you surprised that you were asked to leave the hotel?
A. Yes. Yes.
Q. This was not in accordance with your arrangements with Dr. King?
A. No, it was not. Dr. King had agreed to involve the Invaders. He had chastised his people for making it difficult for the Invaders to operate along with them. We had a very good relationship.
Dr. King probably is the reason --

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James Lawson and Dr. King are the reasons that I have spent almost thirty-five years of my life in the movement.
MR. PEPPER: No further questions. Your witness.
THE COURT: Do you expect your cross-examination to be lengthy?
MR. GARRISON: I don't think it will be terribly long. I'll go on if you want me to.
THE COURT: I'll take about five seconds. Then you can continue with your examination.
(Brief recess.)
THE COURT: Mr. Garrison.
CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. GARRISON:
Q. Dr. Smith, if I may ask you a few questions, I would appreciate it. Let me ask you, during the time that you were working with Dr. King's group, were you made aware of any threats against Dr. King by any source?
A. No.
Q. And when Dr. King came in the first

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time when there was a march and there was a riot and he had gone back to Atlanta, are you
aware of the fact that he planned to come back or said I'll be back? How was that left?
A. I was aware that Dr. King was going to be back. We were extremely interested in making sure that the march worked, that the sanitation workers' strike was successful.
Q. Among the group that you were with, Dr. Smith, the Invaders, was there a gentleman whose name was Merrell McCullough?
A. Yes.
Q. What part did he play in this?
A. Merrell McCullough was our director of transportation. He had the only car and the only gas. So we made him the minister of transportation. That should have made us leery right there. We're talking about some poor youngsters in a very poor town. I guess you can say that Memphis is still a poor town.
We didn't have anything. We didn't have any money. We got around the best we

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could, which was usually to bum a ride. In fact, the police would sometimes have to give us a ride. The ones that were watching us would sometimes give us a ride. McCullough was a very accessible person. He would come to my home every day, as he would go around all the Invaders. When I met him, he was introduced to me by what we call the Riverside Invaders, who brought him into the organization.
Q. Did you later learn that he at that time was working undercover for the Memphis Police Department?
A. Yes. I was invited down to the police department after Dr. King was assassinated, and I was introduced to him by inspector types of the Memphis Police Department as Officer Merrell McCullough.
Q. And would it surprise you to learn that he was brought into Mr. Jowers' restaurant by another officer and introduced as Officer Merrell McCullough?
A. I did not know about that until much later on, but I was extremely surprised. I

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think one of the reasons I was surprised is because we felt that there were people who would infiltrate our group, but we did not have any idea that the infiltration was of a nature broader than the local police department.
We knew that many members of the -- many men who are now members of the police department, in fact, the former police director who has just recently resigned, was also an undercover agent in our organization.
Q. Dr. Smith, the day that the assassination occurred, you were along with some other members of your group in a room or two rooms at the Lorraine Motel. Am I correct, sir?
A. The members of my organization were there.
Q. What floor were you on?
A. On the second floor.
Q. All right. Was there a time that day that you had occasion to look across the street to see what was down on the street

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below the motel and across over there on the other side? Did you have any occasion to do that that day that you recall?
A. I did not. On that day I had to leave to maintain what we call our information center. What I had to do was to receive the information from around the city from our various locations where we thought the strategic information that told us what was happening with the strike itself, with the plans for events and activities, in preparation for the strategy team's meeting and that sort of thing.
Q. All the time that you were at the hotel and the going and coming, do you ever remember seeing anyone in that brush area there across from the hotel? Do you ever recall any activity, seeing anyone in that area?
A. No, I did not see anyone in that area.
MR. GARRISON: Dr. Smith, I had hair once like you. Thank you.
THE COURT: Any redirect?

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MR. PEPPER: Very briefly, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Go ahead.
REDIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Dr. Smith, do you know where Merrell McCullough is employed today?
A. I understand he is employed at the Central Intelligence Agency out of Langley, Maryland.
Q. Langley, Virginia?
A. Virginia.
MR. PEPPER: No further questions.
THE COURT: All right. You may stand down, Dr. Smith.
(Witness excused.)
THE COURT: All right, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to take our lunch break at this time. We'll resume at two o'clock.
(Lunch recess.)
THE COURT: All right. Bring the jury out, please.


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(Jury in.)
THE COURT: All right, Mr. Pepper. Call your next witness.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor. Plaintiffs call in Charles Cabbage.
CHARLES CABBAGE
Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Cabbage.
A. How are you doing, sir.
Q. For the record, would you state your full name and address, please.
A. Charles Laverne Cabbage, 1942 Florida Street, Number 6, Memphis, Tennessee.
Q. Thank you very much for coming down here this afternoon.
A. You are perfectly welcome.
Q. We've heard testimony earlier about the Invaders and the background and the purpose of the organization and all of that detail.


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What I want to do is I want to move on with you. Would you tell us what your position was in the Invaders around the time of 1968?
A. Around 1968 -- first of all, let me try to clear something up here as far as the name "Invaders" goes. My title was execute secretary of the Black Organizing Project, which was a project that we had put together and made up one of the groups we organized. The press actually just gave us the name "Invaders" and it kind of stuck. You know, it kind of stuck. A lot of people can kind of relate to that.
Generally we were referred to as the Invaders about, but actually my title was executive secretary, Black Organizing Project.
Q. What was your role in the Black Organizing Project and that group in particular?
A. Well, basically training street organizers, going on to campuses, trying to set up various and different groups,

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educating, trying to empower black people basically, trying to make an impression on the structure, the power structure, as it was at the time, generally raising the consciousness of black people at that time period. We were basically facing difficult times.
Q. Consciousness-raising activities?
A. Absolutely.
Q. Now, when the march Dr. King led on the 28th of March broke up into a riot, did you and any of the members of the organization meet with Dr. King shortly after that?
A. We did. We met afterward. We had made an effort to meet with him before then, before the march. There were many indications that there was going to be a serious problem, but we were unable to reach him at the time. After the riot occurred, we made an effort to meet with him then. We knew he was staying at the Rivermont. That was public knowledge at the time. So a group of us we

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met out at John's apartment out in south Memphis and we decided that we best go over
there and try to get a chance to talk to him and let him know what the situation was, what
he had walked into.
Q. Some of you went along to the Rivermont to meet with Dr. King. Would that -- when would that have been? Would have been the day after the riot?
A. You are going to have to help me here with these dates and times here. We're talking about a long time ago. As near as I can recollect, I think it was probably been the next day.
Q. The riot took place on the 28th of March. You would have met with him on the 29ing of March?
A. Probably. Probably.
Q. When you went to the Rivermont to meet with Dr. King after this disruption, did you notice any security at the Rivermont for him that the point?
A. No. It was nonexistent. It is kind of strange you should ask that question,


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because when we decided to go, that's the first thing we thought about, how were we going to get past the security, because we knew that there would be some. So one of the fellows that was with us at the time, he said, well, we'll try and see if we can't get through the back door. We walked through the back door. Lo and behold, the back door came straight open, I
mean, no problem at all. We walked right into the door, upstairs to his room, knocked on the door, never saw a soul, no one.
Q. You went directly up to his room?
A. Directly.
Q. You knocked on the door?
A. Yes.
Q. Was there any security inside the room?
A. No security.
Q. Who answered the door?
A. I think Reverend Abernathy answered the door. No, wait a minute. Let me get this straight. Was it Bernard Shaw that was with him at the time. You have to help me


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here. I think Bernard answered the door because I think Dr. King was in the bathroom putting on his tie. I think Reverend Abernathy was standing in the background. I introduced myself, told Mr. Shaw my name is Charles Cabbage, I'd like to talk to Dr. King, I represent the Invader organization. Reverend Abernathy immediately said, stop, no, the doctor does not want to talk to you all now. At this particular time I heard Dr. King call out from the bathroom, he said, no, let him in because I want to talk to him. So we went in the room and sat down and we had a nice long talk.
Q. Basically what was the nature of that conversation?
A. We had brought along some literature, discussing, you know -- explaining our position on certain issues, describing our organization, its structure, some of our goals and objectives.
We were really trying to demonstrate to him that the rumors that had been spread


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about us were untrue and unfounded, that we were really not out to create any kind of disruptive behavior in the City of Memphis, that we were really about basically, like I said, consciousness-raising, introducing the concept of the empowerment of black people at the time generally referred to as black power. That was almost a criminal offense at that particular time. We felt there was some work that needed to be done. In the process of presenting our literature to him, we also presented parts of a program that we had put together that we wanted to try to establish into the community called the Community
Unification Program. We were seeking funding at that particulars time.
But the conversation never really got into the literature itself. They looked it over and went immediately to the march and what happened.
Q. How did Dr. King react to this conversation that you had with him?
A. Dr. King was hot hostile. He was


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positive all the way. His first reaction was, and it kind of shocked me in a way, because I was expecting him to be hostile and I was expecting him to be a bit defensive, you know, because the information that he had received was that we were opposed to everything he stood for, and the first question he asked me was, you know, Brother Cabbage, why did you all do this to me? I explained to him, I said, Doc, we did not do this to you.
Our intention from the very beginning has been, first of all, we did not want you to come here because we had been organizing around -- we had been organizing around not a non-violent theme at that particular time. For him to walk into Memphis trying to lead a non-violent demonstration on the occasion we're talking about was just walking into the jaws of a tiger. It was in our best interest as well as his for him not to be here. We wanted him
not here.
So we weren't able to accomplish


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that, because we really just didn't have the voice that we wanted in the meetings and
strategy sessions that were being held at the time that was controlling the sanitation
strike and those events.
Q. There came a time as a result of this meeting and other discussions that your organization came to agree to work with Dr. King in terms of the following march, the next march that was planned?
A. All this was discussed -- all this came about that day in that meeting, because, know, after I had told -- I don't want to make it sound like I'm giving Dr. King advice, but I tried to inform him as best as I could of what the situation was, the volatility of the situation and some of the things that he could do to be able to come into Memphis and be able to have a non-violent demonstration. I let him know that we had been organizing around counter-themes for at least a year, that a lot of people were aware of it, and in order for him to be able to pull a


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successful non-violent march off here in Memphis, that he needs to pull up all the way, go back to Atlanta, reorganize, send in some workers to begin to teach non-violent doctrines and discipline, because in order to be able to do and accomplish what they were setting out -- what they were attempting to do would take some serious training.
Q. When you met with him and were agreeing to work together, you took up residence in the Lorraine Motel as a means of a place for working with him for manning the second march. Is that right?
A. His suggestion was one of the things we need to do then was probably try to work together. He said, what I will do is we will go back and I'll send some people in and we're going to put you and maybe some of your people on the staff. We agreed immediately, you know. From that point on we decided when they came back, they were contacted. When they came back, I don't remember the exact time line on this, but we took up in the


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Lorraine Motel, we took the two rooms on the top floor, the right-hand side of the building.
Q. Do you know how many people were in those two rooms?
A. We just had the two rooms. At that time we were young. They just stayed full all the time.
Q. Those rooms were on the balcony level, the upper level?
A. Balcony level, yes.
Q. The same level on which he was assassinated?
A. Yes.
Q. Did there come a time when you were asked to leave those rooms?
A. Yes.
Q. When was that?
A. This was after the third meeting that we had had. Let me try and explain this. After the organizers for SCLC had come to Memphis, had come back to Memphis after Dr. King had left, Reverend Orange, Carl Reader (Phonetic) and some of the others at that

113
time, we began to go out into the community and have workshops. So we began to get to be quite friendly. We got along well. So when Dr. King came back, we began to meet downstairs
in the dining room. We had two meetings downstairs in the dining room. We had one in his room. And in the meeting we were discussing how we would be able to pull the march off.
And one of the things that we had decided that would be necessary would be that the Invaders would be involved in actually marshalling the demonstration. I had problems with that initially because I didn't think I could sell that to the group. So when I took this back to our board up on the second floor where we were staying, we had heated arguments about it, but eventually got this over to the entire group and we agreed to marshal the parade. This is after the second meeting we probably -- finally came to a decision and we were on board to act as marshals.


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Q. You were on board after the second meeting?
A. After the second meeting we were on board.
Q. After the third meeting somehow you were told to leave the hotel?
A. Now, John had to remind me of this. After the second meeting after we had come to the conclusion that we were all going to work together on this, that we had as much at stake in it as they did, so, therefore, it would be the right thing for us to do, we had sort of an impromptu meeting in Dr. King's room where we had some final points to work out. That meeting lasted maybe about five to ten minutes. We go back to the hotel, to our rooms, and we discussed it a little bit, and we sat around, and here comes a knock on the door.
Q. There was a knock on the door?
A. Yeah.
Q. This was on the 4th of April?
A. Yes.
Q. On the day of the assassination?

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A. Yes, sir.
Q. What time was this knock on the door?
A. It took us about twenty minutes to clear the room.
Q. So it took you twenty minutes to clear the room?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. What is the significance of that? What time does that make it?
A. We weren't really keeping no watch or time on this. We weren't really watching the
clock per se. But from some of the things that I read from some of the investigations that had been carried out since then, I think we left out about ten until six or eleven until six or something like this.
Q. You were told to leave?
A. Yeah.
Q. Sometime within a half hour, thirty-five minutes, of the killing you left?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. You left at ten minutes to six, which is about eleven minutes before the killing?
A. See, this is did --

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Q. Somewhere in there?
A. I always felt that as we were pulling out -- it took us a little while to get organized to get out of the room. There were quite a few of us there. We got out as quickly as we could. We weren't ready to go. We were there all day for meetings and everything.
There was only one car there, that was mine. We threw things in the car, got in the car. As soon as we got in the car and drove up Mulberry, this is when I heard the shot.
Q. Very shortly after you --
A. Before I could make it to Main Street.
Q. Why were you asked to leave the motel within minutes of the killing?
A. There is a lot of conjecture on that. I do not know. I mean, it is illogical. It doesn't make any sense. Check-out time is the next day.
Q. Was your room paid for through that evening?

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A. Yes. I mean, SCLC was taking care of the entire bill.
Q. So they had paid for it through the evening?
A. I don't know what their records indicate, but I would assume if they had already rented the room, you know, then -- they don't rent them by the half day. It was just a totally illogical move. It didn't make any sense.
Q. Who gave the orders for you to leave the motel?
A. Izzy answered the door. I wouldn't have been the one to answer the door. Izzy answer the door. Izzy, from my best recollection, says that one of the maids had come by to clean the room and asked us to leave, they said that you all would have to leave. Next came Reverend Orange and came in and explained to us that, hey, man, you all will have to leave. Nobody asked why because -- you know, we had feelings that there was something very, very wrong because

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it was sort of a surreal kind of a day. But we had no inkling that he would have been assassinated that afternoon.
Q. He was assassinated within a very few minutes of your being told to leave. Did anyone ask the maid who gave the instructions for you to leave?
A. Not to my recollection. Not to my recollection. Nobody asked her that. I asked Orange why we got to leave.
Q. And what did he say?
A. My best recollection -- I don't know how to put this. Jessie said you got to go.
Q. Jessie?
A. Yeah.
Q. Jessie Jackson said you had to go?
A. Yes.
Q. Was Jessie Jackson a person who worked closely with your organization?
A. No, no.
Q. Who were the SCLC people who worked closely with you?
A. Carl Reader and Orange.
Q. Why would Reverend Jackson be the one

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to give you instructions for you to leave?
A. I never questioned that. I assumed by him handling the money it was a clear-cut decision for him saying -- the way it came down, we were not paying for the room, Jessie was not authorizing payment for the room anymore, so you all have to leave.
Q. They already had paid for the room apparently?
A. This I realize now, but at that particular time we never knew how serious these minutes and seconds were, you know, to a significant historical event. I mean, in hindsight we can see these things, but as they occurred, you know, who would take time to remember anything like that and write it down or jot it down.
Q. So, Charles, I put it to you your testimony this afternoon is that you were asked to leave late in the day close to the time of the killing, you did leave --
A. Yeah.
Q. -- and then you heard the shot within a short time after you left?


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A. As soon as I pulled off the lot and made a right turn, got beside the fire station, the shot rang out. We all ducked down in the car. Normally we would make a right turn to go down to Beale Street and turn left to get on the interstate. This time when we heard the shot we immediately began -- See, we had a different route from leaving the hotel. At night we would take a different route because of the police surveillance around the hotel at night. So we took a left turn, took Calhoun, went toward the river, took a back street to Florida street, got to Crump, went back over to Castle, I think it was, and went over the railroad tracks and back alleys and made it all the way to south Memphis.
Q. Did you notice any security, any police presence or security, in the motel late that afternoon before you left and after you left?
A. Not at any time.
Q. I'm sorry?

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A. Not at any time.
Q. You didn't notice any security?
A. There was none. There was never any security, never.
MR. PEPPER: No further questions, Your Honor.

CROSS-EXAMINATION

BY MR. GARRISON:

Q. Mr. Cabbage, I have two or three questions I would to ask you if you don't mind. Before this date of April the 4th when you were asked to leave the room, did you ever learn of any threats against Dr. King? Was it common that you heard any threats against him?
A. Yeah.
Q. Was it a pretty much common day-to-day thing?
A. No, this was a direct knock on my front door to my house, which made it even more expedient for us to try and get to him and let him know. There was a gentleman that knocked on my mother's front door. We were

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sitting in the house. He came inside and introduced himself. He was from South Africa. He came in and sat down, sirens wailing, fires going off all over the city, curfew on. This man came into our house, sat down and talked to me and told me, said, Charles, I'm going to tell you something, they are going to kill Dr. King in Memphis. I done about passed out.
Q. Is that the day before the assassination?
A. I can't recall that date. I really can't.
Q. Was it the general feeling of the Invaders that it was unsafe for Dr. King to come here to Memphis?
A. Absolutely.
Q. You didn't want him to come here?
A. No, we did not.
Q. Is that because it was not safe to come?
A. It was unsafe, and we knew that because of the position that we had taken

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politically that if anything went wrong, that we would be the one to blame for it.
Q. They would blame it on your group?
A. Absolutely.
Q. Did you recall a gentleman in your group named Merrell McCullough?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. What part did he play with your group?
A. Merrell first came into the organization because of the activities that we were conducting out at Memphis State. We were organizing the Black Students Association out there. Merrell I think was attending classes out there. I think John B. Reddin told him.
He was interested and wanted to learn more about the condition of black people in this condition, so John brought him to the apartment where we were generally holding these meetings, which were generally open to anybody who wanted to attend, they could come. And Merrell came.
Q. The day that you were organizing in

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the room before the assassination, Mr. Cabbage, was Merrell McCullough there, was he one of the ones?
A. No, he was not there. He was with Reverend Orange.
Q. Do you know where Merrell McCullough was when you left the room that day?
A. He and Reverend Orange gone out shopping or something like this. We knew that he was the police, but what can you do about this. You know you are going to be infiltrated. We made him minister of transportation. He had a car. We gave him something to do.
Then when we made the alliance with SCLC and began to work with SCLC, he came along with the group. So now he is moving driving people around, some of the SCLC staff people around. It is just of the one of the quirks the way things happened. He ended up driving the SCLC staff around. We did not know he was as highly connected as he was.
Q. Let me ask you this: You said you were ordered to leave sometime late that

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afternoon before six o'clock?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you see Reverend Jackson at the motel before you left?
A. Yes, he was at the meeting.
Q. Late that afternoon?
A. We met during the day. If you want to go into the event, we can talk about the meeting, but he was there at the hotel that day. As a matter of fact, he was the last person we saw as we left the meeting. He was standing down by the pool.
Q. He was down on the parking level, lower level?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. And did you see Dr. King talking to reverend Jessie Jackson?
A. Not at that time, no.
Q. Mr. Cabbage, let me ask you this: You were in the room facing the street over across from the rooming house across there, weren't you?
A. We were right by where the pool used to be.

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Q. Did you ever look over there and see in the brushy area where it was raised up off the street with a concrete barrier, I think it is, and a lot of trees, did you ever see anyone in there moving around in the bushes that you could tell?
A. No. I never really paid any attention to it. We were constantly moving around, our people, because we provided our own security, and no reports ever came to me that we ever saw anything or anybody at that particular time.
Q. When you heard the shot the day that it occurred, did you go back to the scene or did you go ahead and leave?
A. We immediately went to Riverside Community. We got stopped once by a police officer, a young guy. I don't know who he was. He was nervous. He talked to us and he let us go. That took about five minutes. We went directly to my mother's house. She come running. As I pulled up in front of the house, she is rushing down to the house crying, screaming to the top of her

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voice, they just shot Dr. King, they just shot Dr. King. I immediately began to think, oh, my God, how far is this going to go, because we were aware that the assassination plot was on because of the fellow that had come to my house. So what I did was I got out of the car and turned the car over to some of the other people in our organization, sent it back down to the hotel to see in the event anybody else would be targeted, if we could be of any assistance security-wise. We weren't trained professionals or anything like that. Anybody in a situation like that would try to help.
MR. GARRISON: That's all I have. Thank you, sir.

REDIRECT EXAMINATION

BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Mr. Cabbage, do you know who the man was who came into your home and told you that Dr. King was going to be assassinated?
A. He introduced himself as John Laue.
Q. I'm sorry?

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A. He introduced himself as John Laue.
Q. John Laue?
A. Yes.
Q. How do you spell his last name?
A. I didn't ask for a spelling, but there was another John Laue present at the hotel who spelled his name L O U E, I think, but, you know, this man was an entirely different -- a totally different description.
Q. Was there man black or white?
A. He was Middle Eastern, long brown hair. I'd remember him again if I saw him. I never saw him again.
Q. Did you know him previously?
A. No. Never seen him before in my life.
Q. Never seen him before in your life?
A. No.
Q. Could his name have been spelled L A U E?
A. Something like that. I may have the spelling wrong. I didn't ask him how to
spell his name is what I'm trying to say. I do remember him saying that his name was John

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Laue. I do remember that.
Q. Did you ask him how he knew there was going to be an assassination?
A. He just said he knew.
Q. He just said he knew?
A. Yeah.
Q. You didn't ask him how he knew?
A. No.
Q. Do you know where he was employed?
A. He said he was a photographer a freelance photographer, a journalist.
Q. Freelance photographer?
A. Freelance photographer journalist from South Africa.
Q. Was his first name John or Joseph?
A. I'm saying that he said he introduced himself as John Laue.
Q. Charles, was it routine practice for some of the Invaders to carry weapons?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And why would they carry weapons?
A. Basically for protection.
Q. Protection against whom?
A. Well, it was a hostile environment we

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were working in. We had numerous confrontations with the police. There were armed bands of white citizens who rode around in the community with high-powered rifles in their car. Some of us had been shot at before. It was basically for self-defense.
Q. When you saw Reverend Jackson standing down at the swimming pool, was he doing anything?
A. Well, he said -- he had his arms folded and checking the time seeing how long it would take us to get out of the hotel.
Q. He was looking at his watch?
A. He was checking it.
Q. Lastly, did you have the occasion as a result of your suspicion of a white person who wanted to associate with the Invaders to go through some personal documents of that person?
A. That was an incident that occurred. This was a year prior to. A gentleman with military intelligence -- we used to hang out at a place called the Log Cabin. This is where we used to meet on South Parkway. This

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guy come stumbling in drunk, strange in the first place, because he had to be nuts being
there in south Memphis at this particular time anyway. He comes into our meeting room. He
was immediately stopped, frisked and robbed. In the process of being robbed, somebody took
his wallet. In going through the wallet, we found a military intelligence ID and three
dollars.
Q. And three dollars?
A. Three dollars.
Q. You found an identification card with military intelligence officer?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. This was about a year before the killing?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. This would be then in 1967?
A. 1967, yes. Yes, sir.
MR. PEPPER: No further
questions.
THE COURT: All right. You may stand down, sir. Thank you.

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(Witness excused.)

JOHN McFERREN

Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
THE COURT: Sit back and relax.
THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: Thank you.
Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) Good afternoon Mr. McFerren.
A. Glad to be here.
Q. Thank you for coming. Would you state your full name and address for the record, please.
A. My full name is John McFerren, spelled J O H N, capital M C F ER R E N, McFerren.
Q. And your address, Mr. McFerren?
A. 7615 Highway 195, Somerville, spelled S O M E R V I L L E, zip code is 38068.
Q. Thank you. John, would you just tell the Court, please, and the jury a bit of your
background, how you come to be where you are

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today.
A. First of all, I'd like to say my granddaddy was brought here five years before the Civil War in chains. He was a slave. And lesser than a mile and a half from the store, the record will show in 1867 he gave seven dollars and a half for four hundred acres of land. We have some of that in the family yet.
Q. John, did there come a time in 1959 or 1960 that you became involved in civil
rights activity, voter registration activity, in Fayette County and the area of Somerville?
A. Well, I'd like to please the Court to go back a little bit further than that how I got deeply involved. I met Gerald Estes in Camp Ellis, Illinois, and later I met him again in 1957. In 1957 he was a young practicing attorney. He came to Somerville to defend Burton Dotson.
Q. John, what opposition did you meet when you started, though, moving -- I'm moving forward -- when you started the voter registration project in Fayette County?

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A. According to the way I got the records together, before 1960 there was no negroes registered to vote in that county. In 1957 me and Mr. Estes and the others got together. He was the legal counsel. We ormed a league called the Fayette County Civic & Welfare League to set out to get negroes registered to vote.
At that time the negroes didn't have no chance, and the law, they would pick them up, sentence them, and put them out on the road, and a negro didn't have no chance. The only way we could figure out to change that landscape was through the ballot box.
Q. What did you do?
A. We formed this group. It was the first -- around about April or May in 1959 to get the negroes registered to vote. We got a small majority of negroes registered, and we had a local sheriff election. The local man that we was supporting was named L. T. Redbanks. He run for sheriff against the local sheriff. The Democrat party refused to let us vote.

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That's how it got started. That's how it got started. When they refused to let us vote, on August the 12th, 1959, Gerald Estes filed a suit against the Democratic party asking for us to have the right to cast our ballot.
Q. What happened as a result of that action?
A. Well, that was in 1959. In 1960, the early part of 1960, we was still pushing to get negroes registered to vote, and the local editor of the Fayette Falcon was named Coaster. The wavy understand it, the Commercial Appeal man name here was named Coaster. They was folks.
When we got it going, he put an ad in the Fayette Falcon and the Commercial Appeal that they was going to make a thousand negroes move off the land in 1960, that winter.
During that time in 1960, if you registered, you had to move. The leaders of the movement, the citizen council and the Klu Klux Klan, they had a list that later

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that we got ahold to it through by borrowing it from the Klu Klux Klan's secretary. Ebony magazine published the list. We got ahold of it, forwarded it -- we got a photostatic copy of it, and the made carried it back and put it in the safe and they never knew how we got the list.
The list in this Ebony magazine had all -- had A's behind it, that you couldn't buy nothing nowhere. I was the leader of the group, and they run me out of every wholesale house in Memphis.
Q. Now, this was an embargo list, this was a list of people who no wholesale house should sell any products of any sort. Is that what you are saying?
A. Wouldn't sell them for money at no price.
Q. Moving on now, John, what kind of business were you in, what kind of business did you take over?
A. Well, my brother, he had the store. And he had an education and always followed saw mills and such. He said, I'm going to

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move, I'm just going to leave. He thought he was the one that was behind the movement all the time, and I was the one who was spearheading the movement with the people. He moved to Memphis and left them out there. When he moved to Memphis, then Gulf Oil Company, they jumped in the squeeze. In 1960 no oil company would sell no black farmers no gasoline, no oil and no seed in 1960. It was a liberal at Eades named Ben Roafer. He told all the farmers to come down there to him and he'd sell them what they want. He had more business than he could look at.
During that time I made friends with the underworld. What I mean by the underworld, they run me out of every wholesale house in Memphis but Malone & Hyde. The bread companies wouldn't sell nothing to me. There was a young bread man who said, tell you what you do, you meet me out there on Summer Avenue and I'll sell you off the bread off the truck.

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I would come to Memphis and meet him on Summer Avenue in Memphis in a 1955 Ford car. That's what I had. I would come to Memphis and meet him on Summer Avenue and get bread. They Klan would get after me every night or two. I had -- which I'm a top mechanic myself on the old models. To make a car run fast and turn curves faster, if you noticed, a 1955 Ford has got a solid frame in the front. We took the torch and cut two inches out of the frame in the front. That brought the front wheels in and let the back wheels be wider, and we had chains on -- see, a 1955 Ford has got straight springs behind it. That let the car wheels up when it would go around a sharp curve, it would slide around. At that time, which I could see a
nail in the highway now, at that time my vision was better and I could drive just like I was standing still, and when they'd get after me, I'd cut over in them back roads, and them new cars couldn't turn good like me. At that time wasn't no two-way radios in

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cars. During that time we had Tent City going.
Q. John, let me stop you there. Would you just tell the Court and the jury what Tent City was?
A. Tent City, we went to Washington, and me and my attorney, Carrie Porter Boyd and one other guy. At that time this was under the Eisenhower Administration, and they filed an injunction against the landowners from stop making the tenant farmers move. And this was under the Eisenhower Administration.
That was in 1961. President Kennedy got elected in 1961 in November, and he took office in 1962.
Q. Well, John, let's back up a minute. It is a historical fact that John Kennedy was elected in 1960, took office January 20th of 1961. So it is a year back.
A. A year back. I'm just --
Q. That's okay. Continue.
A. And during that time that I was leading my folks and all this was -- we'd

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have meetings to discuss it, and I decided the only way to be successful in political ranks would be independent from the citizen's council and the Klu Klux Klan. What I mean by being independent, stay out of the Klan's pocketbook. When you borrow money from the Klan, he squeeze up on you in a minute.
Q. John, what kind of business do you run today?
A. I run a grocery store and oil company.
Q. How long have you run that business?
A. I've been running that business since 960.
Q. That's when you took it over from your brother?
A. That's when I took it over from my brother. But now let me run back back just a second. Shaw, a fellow named Shaw, bought it from my brother first. He stayed in it about a month and a half. Because of me going into the business after then -- there was an eighty-three year old man named John Lewis.

141
He said, John, he says, they will starve us to death, we need somebody in that business who knows how to do and feed us. At that time a test was going. If you get Jet magazine, you can see some of the people were so poor, they were starving. Of course, you take most of the people at that time, they had never been nowhere or no-how to maneuver out of oppression.
The Jet magazine published some pictures how poor the folks were at that time.
Q. In Fayette County?
A. In Fayette County.
Q. Let's move on. You have run this business all these years?
A. That's correct.
Q. How many days a week is your business open?
A. The onliest time -- at that time the business was -- we were running seven days a week. I had a family. But after I lost -- the Klan tore my family up. I only shuts it up when I go to pick up merchandise.

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Q. Now, where do you buy your merchandise?
A. All over Memphis.
Q. Where have you always bought your merchandise?
A. Well, I bought all over Memphis. I'd buy from Frank Liberto's Produce, I'd buy from the meat houses, Morrell Meat Company, Fineberg Meat Company. I know every one in Memphis.
Q. You sell produce and meats as well?
A. That's correct.
Q. And you sell fuel oil and gasoline?
A. That's correct.
Q. In 1968 where did you buy your produce?
A. From on market street.
Q. Was there a market there?
A. There was a market there when I first started coming there.
Q. What did you buy at this market?
A. I'd buy -- on that street, the street runs north and south, and on that street, the
banana house, the tomato house, and Frank

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Liberto sold most of the produce and sometimes bananas.
Q. So you bought produce from a warehouse run by --
A. Frank Liberto.
Q. -- a man framed Frank Liberto. In 1996?
A. That's correct. I did before then. See, I knew him way before then. Around about 1960, 1960 or 1961, I got to know him real well.
Q. How many years had you been buying produce from Mr. Liberto?
A. Since 1906 or 1961.
Q. Since 1960 or 1961 he ran that warehouse?
A. He was there then, but I didn't know his name. When I first started going there, I didn't know his name like I did later.
Q. What day of the week -- do you recall what day of the week did you go to pick up your produce in the year 1968?
A. It was on a Thursday, around five-fifteen.

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Q. So you would -- why would you go there around five-fifteen every Thursday? A. Well, you've got to understand how I made the runs. I first started with Malone & Hyde on south -- Malone & Hyde was on South Parkway.
Q. Right.
A. I'd make that run, the dry grocery run. Then I would come on up and I'd have it to put my meat on ice and produce on ice. I'd make them's two places my last pick-ups.
Q. So Liberto's warehouse was your last pickup?
A. Was the last pickup.
Q. You would get there around five-fifteen?
A. I got there that day at five-fifteen exactly.
Q. We're coming to that day. April 4th was a Thursday, the day Martin Luther King was assassinated was a Thursday.
A. That's correct.
Q. Did you go to Frank Liberto's place that day?

145
A. I went there that day.
Q. You arrived there at what time?
A. Around five-fifteen. Now --

Q. Would you describe what the layout of the place was and what you did when you arrived at that warehouse?
A. That warehouse faced east and west, but you enter in the gate on the south side,
and when I drove around to the north side and come up about fifteen feet of the door, I
stopped my truck. At that time I had a three-quarter ton pickup truck with a canvass
on it, a cloth canvass over it.
Q. Okay.
A. When I drove up to the -- when I stopped the pickup truck out in front of the door, this door is on the north side, and there is a big door that could you rollback and back a truck up in.
Coming in from the north side on the right side there is a little small office, and when I got within ten to fifteen feet of this office, why, Latch was standing up.
Q. Who was Mr. Latch?

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A. Mr. Latch had a scar around his neck like this.
Q. What was his relationship to Mr. Liberto?
A. He was a handyman. I never did know, because I was always scared of Mr. Latch.
You see, if you looked at him, he had a scar from right here to right there, and he would
always be mean, but Mr. Liberto was always friendly. I wouldn't fool with Mr. Latch. I would stay away from him if I could.
Q. So you walked in that afternoon, into the entrance and the office. You said you were how far from the office?
A. Ten to fifteen feet.
Q. Ten to fifteen feet from the office?
A. That's correct.
Q. Then what happened next?
A. The phone rang. When the phone rang, Latch picked it up. When Latch picked it up, Latch said, that's him again. He give it to Mr. Liberto. Mr. Liberto said, shoot the --
Q. You can just say what he said.
A. Shoot the son-of-a-bitch on the

147
balcony. Well, at that time they didn't have noticed me. I was just standing up a little
closer to them just looking. I was a cash-paying customer. He would always tell me, you go get what you want and come by the office and pay for it.
If the warehouse hadn't been changed, the doors, you have a line formed going in there.
Q. Let's go back over what you saw. You heard Mr. Liberto talking on the telephone?
A. Telephone.
Q. Around what time of the day was this?
A. I'd say that was around five -- ten minutes after, five-fifteen, around five twenty-five, not quite five-thirty.
Q. Five twenty-five to five-thirty you heard him talking on the telephone?
A. Telephone.
Q. He received a phone call. What did you hear him say once again?
A. Shoot the son-of-a-bitch on the balcony.
Q. Shoot the son-of-a-bitch on the balcony. Then what happened after that?

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A. Then he looked around and seen me. Then they said, go on and get your merchandise. The locker is made with two doors, you open one door, then you walks in and open another door. I went on in and got my merchandise, come on back out. Then when I was coming back out, the phone rang again. Latch picked it up and give it to Mr. Liberto. And Mr. Liberto told him to go to his brother in New Orleans and get his $5,000.
Mr. Liberto wrote me a ticket. I never would buy nothing from nowhere without a bill. He give me a bill. I took the bill, put my merchandise in the truck, then I went on the back side of the company out on that street and I come around to hit Summer Avenue and hit old 64 home. When I got home, my wife called and says, do you know Dr. King done got killed? I says, I know it. It all come back to me in my mind what I had heard. That's what I told her, I know it.

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Q. John, did you tell this story at that time to anyone?
A. I didn't tell it to no one until it got to worrying me, I wondered what they know I heard. You know, when you gets kind of itchy -- that was on a Thursday. So on a Friday or Saturday, no later than Saturday morning, Mr. Baxton Bryant, who was a Baptist white minister that I know in Nashville, I called him and told him what I had heard. So that Sunday evening he said, John, I'm in church now. Says, I'll be there about four o'clock tomorrow evening. When he came down about four o'clock that Sunday evening, we talked it over, and in meantime he had contacted Mr. Lucius Burch's son-in-law to meet me and him with the FBI down here in Memphis.
Q. And did you have a meeting with the FBI and any local law enforcement people in Memphis on that Sunday?
A. Well, that night, that Sunday night, we met with the FBI. Now, I didn't know whether or not that they was local police or

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somebody else. But the only somebody I know was the FBI -- one was a tall and one was a lower.
Q. Did you tell them this story, these details?
A. I gave them the same details. They questioned me two or three hours over the same thing, the same thing. They questioned me two or three hours over the same thing.
Q. Did you give these details to them on any other occasion?
A. That Monday, two little young FBI come out to the store and stayed there half a day questioning me the same thing. So that Tuesday Robert Powell from New Orleans come there, which he used to run a store out there on 64 highway, and I wasn't at the store when he came, he -- the lady where I hide was named Ms. Ida Mae. The record will show that in my deposition with the FBI. She told them that I was at the house. So Robert -- I stayed about an hour and a quarter from the store.
Robert Powell drove on out there to

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the house, and when he come out this to the house -- I knowed him -- I never did have no
dealings with him, but I knowed him, and he come out there to see me, and he talked with me, and at that time he had a big Gulf station in New Orleans tied up with the Mafias, I know it. I wouldn't say much to him, but the onliest questions he asked me was how to get to my house from the back roads. It jumped curious in my mind that all this done happened and he wanted to know how to come to my house through the back roads.
Q. John, you told this story. What happened as a result of your giving this information to the officials?
A. Well, in the meantime, Hal Flannery, which I've got his phone in my pocket right now, he was in the Justice Department. Of course, he had been working with us on the landowners' case.
I called him that Tuesday and told him about Robert Powell had been there and I was scared of him. See, when you buy from

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groups, you begin to know who is who.
Q. Who has happened as a result of the information that you gave the officials? Has anything happened in succeeding years?
A. First of all, Dean Milk Company run my mama down, caught her on the road, run over the truck. After then they hired Marion Yancy and Rue Grady hired the Andersons to beat me up, beat me to death. And they give a 1961 Pontiac and three hundred fifty dollars to beat me to death.
They got out at the courthouse and run me in Ms. Fair Theater's yard. That's the person who owns the theaters in Somerville now. They still own it. When we was fighting in the yard, she come out there with her gun, said, if you all don't quit beating him, I'm going to kill you.
Q. John, were you put in the hospital as a result of that?
A. Well, I come to my family doctor -- and I'd rather not discuss his name, because something else I'm going to bring out, I don't want any reprisals against him -- I

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come to my family doctor, and by my grandparents on my daddy's side come up in slavery, I learned a lot about nerve doctors. When you take mullet and boil it down, which mullet has got a little stickers on, it looks like a catfish, you can boil it down and take Vaseline and make a salve and take iodine salt and lay in it and draw a sweat out. That's what I did. I come to the doctor. They examined me and said I didn't have no -- I didn't break no bones.
Q. John, I want to move along because of the time constraints we have.
A. I understand.
Q. Were you ever asked to go to Washington and testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations and tell what you have told us here today?
A. Let me bring one other point up.
Q. John, no, stay, please, with me and answer this question.
A. All right. Gene Johnson came down investigating for the Select Committee. Me

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and him went over all the records. I discussed what I know, what I knew with him. And when the time come for me to if to Washington to testify before the Select Committee, he come out there with the papers for me to sign, and when he come out there with the papers for me to sign, I noticed that he had gotten a little hostile towards me.
Somebody had got, in my opinion, to him and changed his attitude. That's my thinking. I signed the papers and got everything ready. I says, John -- he says, John, he says, I'll call you before you come up and testify before the Select Committee. And the Select Committee was going on. Two to three days before I was supposed to go, he called me up and said, John, we don't need you.
Q. So the answer to the question is that at the end of the day, you were not called to testify before the Congressional committee?
A. I was not called.
Q. That's what you heard.

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MR. PEPPER: No further questions.
THE COURT: Let's take about
fifteen minutes.
(Jury out.)
(Short recess.)
(Jury in.)

THE COURT: All right.
Mr. Garrison.
CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. GARRISON:
Q. Mr. McFerren, you and I have talked before about all of the things that you know. You knew Mr. Liberto quite a long time, did you, Frank Liberto, over a period of years?
A. I know him from 1960 up until 1996, I was in his business once or twice a week.
Q. Okay. After the assassination of Dr. King, did you ever see him anymore after that?
A. I never did see him personally after that.


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Q. Okay. And during the time that you were around Mr. Liberto, Mr. McFerren, did you ever hear him mention the name of Loyd Jowers, ever hear him ever mention that name to you?
A. Not to me.
Q. All right. Let me ask you this, sir: After you saw Mr. Liberto when you would go for your produce to buy it -- am I correct, sir?
A. That's correct. Ninety percent of the time he would be there, but sometimes Latch would be there.
Q. All right, sir. You've lived in Somerville many, many years, in the town of Somerville, am I correct, sir?
A. I've been there all my life. The only time I've been away is when I was in the Army.
Q. Do you know Mr. Liberto visited Somerville -- are you aware that he visited Somerville on occasion?
A. He would -- I wouldn't say every Saturday morning, but he would visit John


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Wilder's office, which is on the east side of the courthouse. Now, let me explain this to
you so you'll understand. When the assassination committee of Dr. King was going on in Washington, getting ready to go on, he went to visiting John Wilder's office regular.
Now, the way I got ahold of it, I had some of our underground watching. Two to three weeks before James Earl Ray broke pen out of Brushy Mountain, I called Washington and told the Select Committee that they was going to kill James Earl Ray or something was going to happen to him.
I talked to Mr. Gene Johnson, which I've got his phone numbers, I've got Mr. Flanders' phone numbers in my pocket now, I've got Mr. Dole's phone numbers in my pocket now. I was in correspondence with all of them.
The Justice Department, what I said before, the Justice Department covered it up. When I said they covered up the barnyard, I mean they covered it up. Now, if


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you look at the records, the assistant to the United States Attorney General at that time
was -- it was under the Nixon administration. He had a heavy voice. I talked to him one time. I says, I know Dr. King's killings, who is in it, they trying to set me up to get me killed. Mitchell, that was his name. If you ever talked to him on the phone, he has got a gross voice like a bullfrog.
Q. All right. Let me ask you this, Mr. McFerren: Since all this started and you started the civil rights movement, have you ever been shot?
A. I've been shot, I've been beat up twice. The citizen council and the Klu Klux Klan hired a man named Benefield, gave him eighteen hundred dollars to kill me. He got chicken and didn't kill me. He sent word to me by Reverend Frank Jones. He came to my brother's house. He didn't even know which one of the houses I stayed in. Myself, Reverend Frank Jones and Mr. Benefield come down here on Vance. Our


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lawyer's office was at 860 Vance Avenue. That's Gerald Estes office on Vance. He filed -- he made an affidavit with the law and sent it to the Justice Department that he was hired to kill me. It hit on a dead ear. Nothing come about it.
MR. GARRISON: I appreciate it. Thank you, sir.
REDIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Is it true that almost thirty-one years ago you told the same story that you have told to this jury and this Court this afternoon?
A. That's correct.
Q. And is that story true to the best of your recollection and knowledge today as it was then?
A. That's correct.
Q. And have you ever had an opportunity to tell this story before in a court of law?
A. This is the first time.

MR. PEPPER: John, thank you very much. No further questions.


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THE COURT: All right. You may stand down, sir. You can remain in the court room or you are free to leave.
THE WITNESS: Thank you.
(Witness excused.)
JAMES NATHAN WHITLOCK
Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Would you state for the record, please, your name and address.
A. My name is James Nathan Whitlock. I don't want to give you my address to where everybody can hear.
Q. That's all right. We will pass on that.
A. Okay.
Q. Have you been a long-term resident of Memphis?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And, Mr. Whitlock, what do you do for a living?
A. I'm a taxi driver, professional


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musician.
Q. And how long have you been a professional musician?
A. For twenty-five years. Twenty-five years.
Q. What instrument do you play?
A. I'm a guitar player singer/song-writer.
Q. Have you played in areas other than Memphis and Tennessee?
A. Yes, sir. I've played in Las Vegas, Canada, California, the Bahamas, from one point all the way -- just everywhere.
Q. So you've traveled a good deal?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you in the course of the time you've been in Memphis, though, have you received any commendations or any awards as a result of civic activity?
A. Yes, sir, I have.
Q. Would you tell the Court and the jury what those have been?
A. I received Tennessee's outstanding achievement award from Governor McWhorter. I


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received the concern an Aide De Camp Award from the other governor, the heavy-set guy. I can't remember what his name is. I received a commendation from the city from Mayor Herenton, stuff from the senator, letters from -- accommodating (sic) letters from Vice-president Gore, another letter from Jim Sasser, U.S. senator.
Q. Did any of these have to do with saving an individual's life, one or other persons' lives?
A. Yes, sir, they sure did.
Q. What were those occasions, those incidents?
A. The first one was pertaining to a passenger when I was driving a taxicab who caught a cab up to the Sterick Building downtown here and decided he was going to jump off the roof and commit suicide.
A police officer -- I had radioed for the police to come. It was on top of the parking garage. The police officer came, and there was a tussle involved, and they both fell off the building and I climbed down the


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end of the building and pulled them both in. That is the first time something like that -- I received some accommodation. Then one of my neighbors was in a fight and got his throat cut down the street from where I lived, and I kept him from bleeding to death. I captured his assailant, too. So that was some more involved with that.
Q. You've been in the right place at the right time, or depending on how you look at it, maybe the wrong place at the wrong time. Did you in the course of your time here in Memphis in your younger years back in the 1960's come to know a man named Frank Liberto?
A. Not in the 1960's, no, sir.
Q. When did you come to know Mr. Liberto?
A. In the late 1970's, approximately 1978, 1979 and 1980.
Q. So you knew him at the end of the 1970's, that's when you came to know him?
A. That's right, yes, sir.


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Q. Would you describe to the Court and the jury how you come to know him, what the circumstances of your relationship were?
A. Mr. Frank and myself were friends. He would come to my mother's restaurant on a daily basis early in the morning and late in the evening he'd come back. I spent most of my time with him in the evening time. Occasionally he would come there at lunchtime.
We had a restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a pizza restaurant, and he would come and eat breakfast with my mother and spend the rest the day with me occasionally.
Q. Was the restaurant located somewhere between his work and his home?
A. Yes, sir, it was. It was located approximately -- Mr. Frank's -- the Scott Street Market was about a mile from my restaurant. The way I understand it, he lived off of Graham somewhere, and we were kind of in between.
Q. He had a produce house at the warehouse at the Scott Street Market?


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A. That's what I understand, yes, sir, tomato house.
Q. Right. When he -- when you came to know him, he would stop at the cafe, at your mother's restaurant, and what would you talk about? What was there between the two of you that developed, this relationship?
A. Well, at the time I'd been performing in Las Vegas, and Mr. Frank, he would come in and drink beer a lot. I knew how to play a song, an Italian song, on the guitar called Malaguena. I used to play him this song. He used to like what I would play him and he would tip me money.
Then it got to where Mr. Frank was -- I had a little small three-piece combo, and he would book -- he would give me jobs, such as that, performing. He liked for me to play music. He would talk about the old times and where he came from. He would talk about my relationship
with my mother. I reminded himself of -- myself of him when he was young, how I treated my mother and how we lived.


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Q. When he talked to you about the old times or his earlier years, did he tell you where he lived or -- what experiences did he describe?
A. He called it the old country. I remember playing him that song, he used to lay his head back and would say, yeah, it is just like I was in the old country, that's the way they would play it, I like that song.
That's the only mention of his origin he ever -- where he came from he ever
made to me directly that wasn't pertaining to the United States.
Q. Pertaining to the United States, did he ever discuss any experiences or life when in the City of New Orleans?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did he tell you about his life there?
A. Well, I asked him some stuff that led up to him telling me that he had come from New Orleans, but I had heard that he was in the Mafia. And I asked him if he was in the


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Mafia. And he didn't say yes or no. He answered me by saying, I pushed a vegetable cart in the French Quarter with Carlo Marcello when I was a boy. I didn't know what that meant. I
let that go. It went over my head. Years later I saw the movie the assassination of RFK or JFK with Oliver Stone, and Mr. Frank, he talked Italian, and he said, I push a vegetable cart with Carlo Marcello when I was a boy. Carlo Marcello, I didn't know what that meant. Then I saw that movie, and it said Carlos Marcello, the kingpin of the Mafia from New Orleans. I said, that's Carlo, that's not Carlos, that's Carlo. That's what threw the two together.
Q. So he confided or told you about his earlier life experience with Carlos Marcello, the New Orleans Mafia boss?
A. That's correct.
Q. But did you when you first met him and you heard he was associated with the Mafia, did you know what the Mafia was at that point?


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A. No, sir. I asked Mr. Frank what it was.
Q. What did he say?
A. I asked him, I said, what is the Mafia? Is it a bunch of bad guys that sit around and table and scheme up something mean to do? He said, no, it is a bunch of businessmen that take care of business.
Q. Now, did there come a time, Mr. Whitlock, when you heard about a conversation that Mr. Liberto had with your mother?
A. Yes, sir. Pertaining to Martin Luther King?
Q. Yes, sir. Pertaining to Martin Luther King.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And did that conversation on the day of the assassination of Martin Luther King that he had with your mother, did that upset you in some way?
A. Yes, it did, in a way it did. Because that he would talk to my mother directly about gangsterism, that is what I


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was predominantly upset about. It wasn't the subject matter of what it was about, it was the fact that he would think that he could, you know, go to that level to talk to her about that. That's what upset me more than anything.
Q. When you heard about this, what did you do?
A. I went directly to Mr. Frank about it when he showed up at the pizza parlor and just asked him, I said, hey, Mr. Frank, did you kill Martin Luther King?
Q. Because what had you heard that he had said to your mother?
A. He told mama that he had killed Martin Luther King -- had Martin Luther King killed. I didn't like him talking that to my mother. I thought he was out of line for coming forward with that, talking to her. He could talk to me about it. But he stepped over the line. So that's when I approached him.
Q. You became offended and you actually just went up to him and confronted him?


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A. That's right.
Q. How old were you at that point, Mr. Whitlock?
A. Eighteen.
Q. As an eighteen-year-old young man, you went up to this fairly formidable individual, wasn't he?
A. Define "formidable."
Q. He was good sized, he had an aura of power about him?
A. He was a big man, yes, sir.
Q. You confronted him by asking him the question, did he kill Martin Luther King?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. What did he say to you?
A. He glared at me, he says, you've been talking to your mother, hadn't you? I said, yeah. He said, you wired? I didn't even know what he meant by that. I went, no, I'm not wired.
Q. He asked if you were wired, and you didn't know what he meant by that?
A. I thought he was talking about -- I thought he meant am I taking amphetamine


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pills and wired up. I said, no, I'm not crazy. He sat there for a second. He says --
THE WITNESS: Your Honor, I don't want to offend anybody, and I don't know how many people are watching this television, but I'm going to have to use some --
Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) Just speak clearly and plainly, just what he said.
A. I'm going to use that N word nobody wants to hear. I don't want to offend anybody by saying this.
Q. Mr. Whitlock, just say what you know.
A. He told me, he said, I didn't kill the nigger, but I had it done. I said, what about that other son-of-a-bitch up there taking credit for it? He says, ahh, he wasn't nothing but a troublemaker from Missouri, he was a front man.
I didn't know what that meant. Because "front man" to me means something different than what he was thinking about. I said, a what? He said, a setup man. I said,


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well, why did you kill the preacher for? He says, ahh, it was about the draft. He says, boy, you don't even need to be hearing about this. He said, don't you say nothing. He stood up and he acted like he was going to slap me up upside the head. So I stood up there. Me and him are looking at each other. He has got this glare look on his eye. I could tell he was thinking about hitting me.
It run through my head, you old son-of-a-bitch, you hit me, I'm going to knock a knot upside your head, I don't care who you are. He is standing there glaring at me. He says, you fixing to go to Canada, aren't you? I said, yeah. Then about that time the phone rang. I just walked over there and answered the phone and was busy with the pizza stuff, I looked up, and he is gone. He left his beer sitting there on the table. It was about half full.
Q. Did you ever have any other discussion with him about this matter?


173
A. No, sir.
Q. And do you recall what year this was?
A. 1979.
Q. 1979?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. You went off to Canada, then?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Played your gig?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. Did you ever see or talk to Mr. Liberto again?
A. My time frame -- he called me, okay, on the phone, right after that, and he says, Nate, I've got a job for you. I went, oh, man, he is going to want me to -- well, let me back up just a little bit here. Mr. Frank -- there was something that happened over at the pizza parlor prior to this conversation I had with him about him having Martin Luther King whacked. Something took place right prior to that at the pizza parlor that left him open to talk to me in these kinds of ways. It was a pretty nasty situation, but


174
I had to do what I had to do over there. I don't tell everybody what I did. About a week or two prior to this conversation I had with Mr. Frank, some guy came in, he looked kind of like John Wayne. He was a big guy, a redneck guy, walked in my mother's restaurant drinking a beer.
Mama runs over there to the door and she says, you can't bring a beer in here but I'll sell you one. He just -- once again, I'm going to have to use some nasty language to make it how it was. He says, I just might buy this mother-fucking place, and he back-handed my mama.
When he did, I walked around from the counter with a nightstick and knocked fire from his tail end and knocked him through the front door, hit him across here and busted his eye open real bad, busted his head open, knocked him out on the front doorstep out there and whacked him again with that stick.
There was a man that was working out there named Louis Bonsella. He come running


175
out there and said, don't hit him no more, Nate, you are going to kill him. I said, I'm
trying to kill this MF. Some other guy come running out the door and says, oh, wait a
minute, come on, Red, talking about the guy I hit with the stick, come on, Red, they are
going to kill us. So I hit him in the GP.
So the last I saw these two knuckle-heads, they were dragging each other down the sidewalk. Meanwhile, Mr. Frank had got me up in a truck a couple days later, he got me up in there. Mama called the cops. They come over there. She filed a report on the guy causing such a disturbance. The lieutenant shows up over there. He gets me out on there on the sidewalk and
says, Nate, you are going to have to watch yourself because there is going to start a war over here. I whacked this guy good with that stick.
Mr. Frank got me in the truck. He started asking me about this fight. He says, were you going to kill him, Nate? I said, yeah, I was, but Louis stopped me. He said,


176
who? He said, the guy over there working at the place. He said, oh, that old dago son-of-a-bitch.
Then he says, well, it is a good thing you didn't kill him, you would have been in a whole lot of trouble if you would have. You got out of it, but I would have helped your mama. He said, could you do it again? I said, I guess so, if somebody come up in the pizza parlor acting the fool and hit mama, I said, yeah, I'll tear them up.
He says, no, would you do it just in general? I said, to who? He said, mostly dope niggers over there on around Hollywood, going up around the Hollywood over Plough Boulevard. He motioned over there towards Hollywood.
I said, I don't know. He said, could you do it for some money? I said how much money? He said, five or ten, it depends. I said, who is it? He says, these dope boys get these white girls over there, the families still care something about them, either the police can't or won't do anything


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about it and he said that's it, that's who we want to get right there. I said, who exactly is it? He said, there is always some nigger around here needs to be killed. I don't know. I'll let you know.
Well, when he called my back after we had this conversation about Martin Luther King, he told me about that, he said, oh, I've got a job for you, Nate. Oh, God, he is going to want me to kill some dope idiot over here somewhere.
He says, get your nigger. I had a guy, a black man, that played drums for me, and another man. He says meet Billy down at the Cook Convention Center. He was talking about a music job.
Q. It wasn't a contract to kill somebody?
A. Yeah. He wanted me to play for Sheriff Bill Morris' Christmas party. I was to go down there to the Cook Convention Center, play this Christmas party and I get paid a check. Then he shows back up over

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there at the pizza parlor. That's what the conversation was about.
Q. Did there come a time years later when you wrote a letter to a government official in which you discussed or in which you stated what you have told this Court and jury today?
A. I didn't go into detail, but I had written the governor of Tennessee with a copy written to John Wilder, the lieutenant governor, and to the -- I sent one to the person at the Board of Responsibility and to another Memphis attorney, yes, sir, I did.
Q. And were there any repercussions on you as a result of that letter and what you said about this case?
A. Yes, sir, it was.
Q. What happened you to?
A. Well, I started having this guy follow me around in a car that was undercover car that had a bunch of antennas on it. I was working my taxicab. He was constantly following me for about two days. Then I got down here at Poplar and


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Cleveland and I called my mother-in-law, ex-mother-in-law up on the phone in Shelby Forrest, and I had a bunch of cops roll down on me, a bunch of police. I said, heck, there is a robbery somewhere, I better get out of here. I hung up the phone and took off.
I didn't know they was there for me. I get around the corner and I'm pulled over. I had three squad cars with loads of police with guns to my head. They hit me in the groin twice, smashed my face up against the back of the car, stretched me out. One of them cops -- I used to wrestle a couple years ago at the Coliseum, and one of the cops recognized me from when I
wrestling. He said, wait a minute, this is Nate. They was working on the hood smashing my face down in that thing, you know. I was just taking it. They didn't put anything on me that I hadn't hardly had before. So I'm just taking it however I can take it. But the one cop stopped it. The guy had a gun to my head while the other one


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was working on me. He said, wait a minute, Nate, what is this about? I said, I don't know, man, I guess it is my ex-wife or something. I didn't know what it was about.
Q. You didn't put it together at that point?
A. Not at that moment, no, I didn't. The top cop that knew me, he put me in his squad car and looks back at me, he said, Nate, have you been making phone calls to Nashville? I said, ug-huh, not me.
They jerked me out of the car again. They said, how much change you got on you? I had like eighty cents in change. They are all looking like he ain't got enough money to make a long-distance phone call. I said, what are you talking about? He says -- the cop asked me, he says, do you -- have you been making bomb threats? I said, I can't even set my VCR much less make a bomb. I don't know what you are talking about. This is the cop I know. He says, have you been trying to embezzle money out of anybody, some


181
government guy? I said, no, ma'am, what the heck is this? Then all of a sudden this guy that has been following me, he pulls up there real quick in this unmarked car, because they are on the radio saying -- I said, if this is all what is going on, you've got the wrong guy, you need to go back over there wherever he is on the phone and see if you can find him, because you've got the wrong person here.
Well, when that took place, the cop that put all the regular Memphis police on me, the undercover guy, he come wheeling up and blocks his face so he can't see me and walks by the car and said, here is the number he is calling. I'm listening out the window to them. I call him a lying SOB when he walks by the door because that's what he was was. I ain't called anybody in Nashville.
Q. Well, the upshot of it all was that this was serious harassment that happened you to?
A. That's an understatement. Then they got me downtown, read me my Miranda rights.


182
I said, am I under arrest? He said, boy, you in a lot of trouble. He said, you can't get no lawyer, you can't get no bond. He said, why does the Secret Service have a hold on a cab driver?
This is that cop up there named Johnstone, eleventh floor, bomb unit. I says, I can't tell you. He said, well, you going to have to tell me. I said, I'll talk to the AG about it because he told me not to say a word to nobody about this. He said, you ain't talking to nobody until you tell me why the Secret Service has ahold on this cab driver right here. I said, okay if you really want to know it, I'll give it you. There are entities within the
government -- he is taking a statement. They give my give me my Miranda rights. I'm not
sure if I'm under arrest or not. Then I give the statement. You can't make a statement
unless I done read you your rights, he said. I said, fine. Okay. I guess I was arrested.
I give the statement. I said, the


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reason why they doing this to me is there are entities within the United States government that don't want me to say what I know about the assassination of Martin Luther King. He almost fainted. He walked out of the room. I saw him through the window. He was on the FAX machine and he was working the FAX machine. I read the heading of the paper he had. It had something on there that said Washington. He walks back in there with the FAX. Him and Larkin, the other major up there, they read it, and they said, get the hell out of here. I was arrested with guns to my head, hit in the groin, read my Miranda, then un-arrested and kicked loose all at the same time.
Q. My goodness. Nate, thanks very much for coming down here this afternoon.
MR. PEPPER: No further questions.
THE WITNESS: Dr. Pepper, you don't have to thank me for telling the truth.
MR. PEPPER: No further


184
questions.
THE COURT: Mr. Garrison might
have some questions for you, sir.
CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. GARRISON:
Q. Mr. Whitlock, I've known you and your family for quite a few years, haven't I?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Let me ask you this: How long have you known Mr. Loyd Jowers seated over here?
A. Since 1985, Mr. Garrison.
Q. You worked when he was in the cab business, did you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You've been around him quite a bit?
A. Not in the last ten years I haven't, no, sir.
Q. You'd been around him quite a bit before then?
A. A long time ago, yes, sir.
Q. Has he ever made any mention to you about the assassination of Dr. King?
A. No, sir.
Q. He never said any word about that?


185
A. I never drew the two together until I saw Mr. Jowers and yourself and Mr. Akins on one of them television programs. I called mama up on the phone. I said, does that sound familiar?
MR. GARRISON: That's all I have.
THE COURT: All right. You may
step down.
(Witness excused.)
THOMAS H. SMITH
Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Captain Smith, good afternoon.
A. Hi.
Q. Thank you for coming here this afternoon.
A. You are welcome.
Q. Would you state for the record, please, your name and address?
A. Thomas H. Smith, 2997 Knight Road, Memphis, Tennessee.


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Q. Captain Smith, were you employed by the Memphis Police Department?
A. No longer. I've been retired for eleven years now.
Q. How long did you work for the Memphis Police Department?
A. Thirty-three years.
Q. What was the rank that you achieved?
A. Well, at one time I was captain in charge of homicide.
Q. Were you assigned to homicide at the time of the assassination of Martin Luther King?
A. Yes, sir, I was. I was assigned to homicide in 1960.
Q. So in 1968 you were a homicide detective involved in that investigation?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. In the course of that investigation did you first of all arrive on the scene around the time of the killing?
A. Yes, sir. My partner and I, Roy Davis, were the first ones on the scene at the time of the killing.


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Q. At some point in time did you go over and into the rooming house on the opposite side of Mulberry?
A. Yes, sir, I did, during the time of my investigation after I did what I had to do at the scene. I was going around looking for witnesses and went over to the rooming house.
Q. Did you go up to the second floor of that rooming house and into a room occupied by a man called Charles Stephens?
A. Yes, sir, I did.
Q. And his common-law wife Grace Stephens?
A. Grace, yes.
Q. How long after the killing did you go into that room and see Mr. Stephens?
A. Well, it couldn't have been all that long, because we tried to expedite matters. It was still daylight. I talked to Mr. Stephens. I could not talk to Grace.
Q. You could not talk to Mr. Stephens?
A. No.
Q. Why couldn't you speak with Mr. Stephens?


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A. She is drunk, passed out on the bed.
Q. He was drunk and passed out?
A. Yes, sir.
THE COURT: He said "she" was.
Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) I'm sorry, Mrs. Stephens was drunk and passed out. What about Mr. Stephens?
A. He had been drinking heavily.
Q. Did you talk to him?
A. He was leaning up against the door and talked with me briefly, yes, sir.
Q. And what kind of condition was he in?
A. He was also intoxicated but not as bad as Grace.
Q. Were you aware of the fact that Mr. Stephens gave a statement that was used in the extradition proceedings from London against James Earl Ray?
A. I wasn't for a long time. I know he was.
Q. And that as a result of Mr. Stephens' identification of a profile in the distance that he saw, Mr. Ray was extradited from London and brought back to the United States.


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A. Yes, sir.
Q. In your opinion at the time when you interviewed him, within minutes of the killing, after the killing, would he have been capable of making that kind of identification?
A. No, sir. No way.
Q. Because of his intoxication?
A. No, sir. I don't think he could. I didn't think enough of his statement that I took to take him downstairs, downtown and take a formal statement from him and so put it in my arrest report that he was intoxicated to the point there was no sense in bringing him downtown.
Q. You put that in your report?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was that report ever reflected in the Memphis Police Department investigation report?
A. Yes, sir. It is quite full of the investigation. We all wrote our little part that we had in it.
Q. But did you read the official MPD


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report and did you ever see the comments that you have made just now included in that report?
A. No, sir. I have never read the report. I never had my hands on it. Well, I did have my hands on, it but I never had time to read it. When I was promoted in charge of the homicide squad, there was a report in the office, and I took it out of the desk -- out of the file and put it in my desk drawer where I could securely lock it up.
Q. All right.
A. And it was later taken from me by Chief John Moore. He called me one day and asked me if I had it. I said yes, I did. He said, bring it to me. I carried it down there. I haven't seen it since.
Q. Do you know what happened to it?
A. No, sir.
Q. One final line of questioning. Were you over in the hospital at the time when the body of Martin Luther King was present in a morgue room?
A. Yes, sir, I was there.


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Q. And did you put your hand on the back of Dr. King under his lower left shoulder blade and feel an object?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was the object that you felt just beneath the skin?
A. Well, it felt just like a bullet to me, the lead jacket of a bullet.
Q. Did it feel as though it was one piece?
A. Yes, sir, it was still round.
Q. It felt as though it was one piece?
A. Yes, sir.
MR. PEPPER: Nothing further,
Your Honor.
MR. GARRISON: Your Honor, I have no questions. Thank you, sir.
THE COURT: All right. Thank
you very much, Captain.
(Witness excused).
MR. PEPPER: Your Honor,
plaintiffs have another witness who has made a special trip here. The entire testimony will not take more than about seven to ten


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minutes.
THE COURT: We'll hear it.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you.
MR. PEPPER: Call Mr. Charles Hurley, please.
THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen, let me probably admonish you. You probably have heard some things you have never heard before about this case. You are not to discuss this evidence, not with your family, not among yourselves or anyone else.
CHARLES HURLEY
Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. PEPPER:
Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Hurley. It has been awhile.
A. It has.
Q. Would you please state your name and address for the record, please.
A. Charles Hurley, 2595 Cedar Ridge Drive, Germantown, Tennessee.
Q. Mr. Hurley, what do you do for a


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living?
A. I'm division manager for Save-a-lot Food Stores.
Q. How long have you held that position?
A. That position, about four years.
THE COURT: H U R L E Y?
THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Go ahead.
Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) At the outset let me thank you very much for coming down here at considerable inconvenience to yourself. Mr. Hurley, what position did you hold -- what was your work back in 1968?
A. I was advertising manager for National Food Stores in Memphis.
Q. What did your wife do at that time?
A. She worked for the Seabrook Paint Company. She was a buyer at Seabrook Paint Company down on South Main Street.
Q. Physically where was the Seabrook Paint Company located in respect of the rooming house?
A. It would be immediately across the


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street, virtually right across the street.
Q. Virtually opposite the rooming house in question?
A. Right, uh-huh.
Q. And therefore virtually opposite Jim's Grill, the restaurant at the bottom of the rooming house?
A. Yes, I believe that would be correct.
Q. What was your practice on a usual day when you finished work?
A. Well, what I would do is I would go downtown and pick up my wife. I worked down on South Florida Street, which is not really very far from there, and we had one car at the time, so that's what our usual practice was to do.
Q. On the 4th of April, 1968, Thursday afternoon, did you go downtown to pick up your wife?
A. I believe, yes.
Q. Do you recall what time of day that was?
A. I normally got off about four-thirty. It is probably fifteen or


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twenty minutes to where she was. I would just normally drive down and pick her up.
Q. And so around a quarter to five --
A. About that, I would say.
Q. -- ten to five, you drove to South Main Street?
A. Yes.
Q. And you were facing north as you go?
A. I would be facing north, yes.
Q. And would you pull over to the side of --
A. Yes. I would -- if she wasn't downstairs, I would pull over and park.
Q. Was she downstairs on that day?
A. I believe she had come down and I was not downtown, so she had gone back up to her work space.
Q. So when you arrived, she wasn't down there?
A. No, she wasn't down there.
Q. What did you do?
A. I just sat in the car and waited for her.
Q. Where did you park your car?


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A. I parked, you know, facing north. That would be the east side of South Main right there almost opposite the rooming house.
Q. Was there an automobile parked immediately in front of you?
A. Yes, there was.
Q. And what kind of car was parked immediately in front of you?
A. It was a white Mustang.
Q. It was a white Mustang?
A. Yes.
Q. How far back, can you estimate, was that Mustang from Jim's Grill or the rooming
house?
A. It was right there. That has been a long time.
Q. Sure.
A. But it was right there.
Q. Did you notice the license plates on that white Mustang?
A. Yes, I did. Yes, I did.
Q. What kind of license plates were there on that white Mustang?


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A. As I recall at the time and still believe, it was an Arkansas license plate, because the numerals were red and the background was white.
Q. Do you believe the license plate on that car was a white Mustang?
A. Yes, I am.
Q. Are you aware of the fact that James Earl Ray was driving a white Mustang in Memphis on that day?
A. I've heard that subsequently, yes.
Q. Are you aware of the registration of that Mustang that James Earl Ray was driving?
A. You know, only what I've been told or heard subsequently. I think it was the FBI or someone had told me it was an Alabama license, they believed it to be an Alabama license.
Q. He was driving an Alabama license-plate-registered car. You saw a white Mustang with Arkansas plates?
A. I believe them to be Arkansas plates.
Q. On that street?
A. Yes.


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Q. Was there anyone sitting in that car?
A. There was one person sitting in the car.
Q. When your wife came down and you picked her up and you drove away, was that person still sitting in that car?
A. Yes, uh-huh.
Q. Could you describe that person?
A. The only thing I could see was the back of someone's head sitting in the car. I couldn't identify him from that, I'm sure.
MR. PEPPER: That's fine. Thank you very much, Mr. Hurley. Nothing further.
MR. GARRISON: I have no questions of Mr. Hurley, thank you.
THE COURT: All right, sir. You may stand down. You are free to leave.
(Witness excused.)
THE COURT: Any more out-of-towners?
MR. PEPPER: Well, we do have on call outside two more witnesses whose testimony will be very brief. We can have them return, if Your Honor wishes, tomorrow


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to begin in the morning. One has come from Florida, but he is prepared to stay over. It is at Your Honor's discretion, whatever you wish.
MR. GARRISON: Your Honor, his testimony may not be quite as brief. I will have some cross-examination on him.
THE COURT: Very well. You've answered the question I might have asked. Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to stop at this point. We will resume tomorrow at ten o'clock. Again, please don't discuss the testimony with anyone. That also goes for the witnesses who have testified here. You are not to discuss your testimony on the stand here with any of the reporters or anyone else.
All right.
(Jury out.)
(The proceedings were adjourned at 4:30 p.m.)

Magda Hassan
03-25-2010, 01:30 AM
Full transcript in PDF