by Mary W Maxwell, PhD, LLB
Today is a public holiday in the US, the birthday of Martin Luther King (MLK). There should also be a holiday, or day of guilty reflection, on the fact that a man named Jimmy Ray served over 30 years in prison for killing King, as a patsy for the real killer, which was the FBI.
Coretta Scott King, MLK’s wife who was a concert pianist, gave a press release in 1999 saying “We were saddened by the physical pain and suffering James Earl Ray endured during the last months…[and we feel] deep regret at the tragic failure of the criminal justice system to give him his day in court…There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband….”
Government certainly knew that Albert DeSalvo was not the Boston Strangler, and that James Earl Ray was not MLK’s assassin, but we in the “the audience” took those names on board without question. Even today, when it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that DeSalvo and Ray were framed, we still parrot the media’s original line about them!
Jimmy Ray was born in 1928, the first of nine children.(Note: the media uses the name James Earl Ray to make the assassination drama sound plausible.) When the youngest was only a few months old, the father left the household. Four kids were taken away by the state.
Brother Jerry notes, “Our family situation had become unbearable, with several young children to support and no conceivable way to provide for them.” (Welfare did not yet exist.) The four older brothers, Jimmy, John, Jerry, and Frank, who remained at home, were unusually close-knit. Frank was killed in a car crash, age 19, in 1963. The three J’s were in and out of prison, mainly for committing burglaries.
Jerry has been seeking justice in the matter for decades. Luckily he found Tamara Carter to act as scribe for his “Memoir of Injustice.” Jerry (who gave these facts to author Tamara Carter) served three sentences for crimes he committed at age 16, 18, and 21. It would have been a miracle if he didn’t imitate his role models. He adored his brother Jimmy, who was seven years his senior. (“In March 1946, Jimmy joined the army – I missed him so much.”)
Brother John, in 1971, was accused of robbing the Bank of St Peter’s, in Missouri. There was no evidence for it, except the testimony of an FBI snitch named Catman. (This suggests it was the FBI that robbed the bank, surely a common occurrence). In any case, John was sent away for 20 years, which reduced the strength of the brothers.
Frank’s car-crash death may have occurred for that reason, too, right?
Jerry says: “Little did I know the FBI had been courting Catman to get him to testify against John. The FBI was paying Catman’s bar tabs, and playing on his ego, telling him what a good, smart guy he was.”
By now Jimmy was already in jail for the death of MLK, and brother John’s sentencing reinforced the public’s belief that Jimmy was a thug. Had there ever been a trial regarding the King assassination? No. In 1969, Jimmy Ray, the alleged assassin of Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. pleaded guilty. Three days later he wrote to Judge Preston Battle of Shelby County Criminal Court, saying he was coerced, and asked for a trial. The judge was found dead at his desk.
Of course Jimmy was ‘tried by media.’ One witness, Charlie Stephens, who occupied the room next to Ray at ‘Bessie’s flophouse’ in Memphis, said he saw Ray walk down the hallway right after MLK was shot. Apparently Charlie only said that to qualify for the $100,000.00 award “for information leading to arrest and conviction” – when he was deprived of the award, he changed his story and told newsman Dan Rather that he had made the whole thing up, that he did not see Ray in the hallway.
His wife Grace had declared – even when the money was on offer – that Charlie was inebriated and could not get up off the bed, so he couldn’t have seen anyone in the hallway. Tamara Carter writes, in “Memoir of Injustice” (2010):
Grace was then taken and confined to John Gaston Hospital’s psychiatric ward …. On July 31, 1968, …Memphis Probate Judge Harry Pierotti … had her committed…. She remained a ward of Western State Psychiatric Hospital for about ten years…. [Grace later said] “I stayed locked up… because I wouldn’t go along with what the prosecution and state wanted. [Let’s have a public holiday for her, too.]
In the years of trying to get his brother acquitted, Jerry Ray was elated to discover that the media’s major explanation for Jimmy’s racist “motive” to kill King had no basis. Jimmy was said to have watched King on TV, pre-1968, but Jerry discovered that the cellblock had no television until 1970. TIME, on January 26, 1976, quoted a book by George McMillan, in which McMillan purported to have interviewed some men who had been co-prisoners of Jimmy during an earlier incarceration.
These (unnamed!) prisoners said:
“In 1963 and 1964 Martin Luther King was on TV everyday talking defiantly about how black people were going to get their rights .… Ray watched it all avidly on the cellblock TV.… He boiled when King came on the tube; he began to call him Martin ‘Lucifer’ King and Martin Luther ‘Coon.’ … “Somebody’s gotta get him,” Ray would say, his face drawn with tension, his fists clenched, “Somebody’s gotta get him.”
Follow The Logic: This Is How To Do a Set-Up
- Jimmy’s original defense lawyer, Percy Foreman coerced Jimmy to enter a guilty plea supposedly as a way to avoid the death penalty. Jerry believes “Percy Fourflusher” was actually working for the prosecution.
- A later attorney in the case, J. B. Stoner, was also on the wrong side. He was said to be a racist “so far right and extremist that even the KKK distanced itself.” Almost certainly Stoner didn’t really give a hoot who was black and who was white. And why did Stoner run against Jimmy Carter for governor of Georgia in 1970? A good guess is that he was placed into that campaign to make Carter look preferable.
- In 1967 Jimmy escaped from a high-security prison by hiding in a bakery cart. Very likely that was not of his own doing. The usual suspects probably arranged the escape in order to have ‘James Earl Ray’ outside when his services were required for the 1968 assassination.
- Jimmy’s awful death in prison was foul play. He was ‘shanked’ by fellow prisoners. He then required 77 stitches and “a blood transfusion tainted with Hepatitis C.” He had never, previously, been the object of the wrath of co-prisoners, and he was nearing age 70, so why would this knifing take place? Please imagine how he (and Jerry) felt.
- A man named Loyd Jowers, at the very end of his life, ‘owned up to’ being the rifle-provider to a now-deceased Memphis cop who, he said, was the assassin. Nonsense, this court case was a way for the government to take people’s attention off the real story – involving “Raoul.” Memoir of Injustice, yields plenty of hints as to how Jimmy Ray came to meet, and be controlled by, an elusive but very real person who was known to him as Raoul in Canada.
- At some early stage of his criminal career, James Earl Ray was given plastic surgery while in prison, to remove the notable pointiness of the end of his nose, perhaps so he could better resemble his body double. (At least we can be sure prisoners do not get cosmetic surgery for beauty!).
Every man and his dog know that the Feds killed Martin Luther King. He had seen it coming: “I may not get there with you.” The purpose may have been to silence him (at age 39!) before he could reveal that he had indeed been a government-run man who then tried to break away.
Another African-American leader, Malcolm X, also predicted his own imminent death by the FBI.
— Mary W Maxwell is the author of “A Balm in Gilead: Curing Autism and Awakening the Physicians.”