This article is based on the work of a remarkable man. Dr. William Pepper is an attorney, author, and friend of Martin Luther King and his family. In February 1967 King had asked to meet a young man whose work as a journalist in Vietnam showed the terrible impact on the civilian population. King wept and never wavered in his opposition to the war. That young man was Bill Pepper. He became James Earl Ray’s lawyer and assembled the evidence that exonerated Ray — some of which is described below.
Six-oh-one p.m., April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King has been felled by a single shot.
In 1977 the family of Martin Luther King engaged an attorney and friend, Dr. William Pepper, to investigate a suspicion they had. They no longer believed that James Earl Ray was the killer. For their peace of mind, for an accurate record of history, and out of a sense of justice they conducted a two decade long investigation. The evidence they uncovered was put before a jury in Memphis, TN, in November 1999. 70 witnesses testified under oath, 4,000 pages of transcripts described the evidence, much of it new. It took the jury 59 minutes to come back with their decision that Loyd Jowers, owner of Jim’s Grill, had participated in a conspiracy to kill King, a conspiracy that included J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, Richard Helms and the CIA, the military, the Memphis Police Department (MPD), and organized crime. That verdict exonerated James Earl Ray who had already died in prison.