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Published on Tuesday, April 4, 2000 in the Cape Cod Times
MLK Jr's Murder:
Confessions Of Conspiracy
by Sean Gonsalves
Conspiracy theories abound. Professors, pundits and especially government eggheads - having read Richard Hofstadter's excellent analysis of the political paranoiac - talk about conspiracy theories in pejorative tones, certain that the rabble just doesn't understand the complexities of governance.

I suppose all that makes for an interesting intellectual exchange but the crucial question is whether a conspiracy is, in fact, behind a particular political event. Conspiracies happen.

Loyd Jowers told Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s son, Dexter, and former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young, that he was part of a conspiracy to kill King. Today marks the 32nd anniversary of his assassination.

The plot in which Jowers said he took part went to trial after all these years. This past December the jury ruled that, indeed, there was a conspiracy to kill King, involving Jowers and "others, including governmental agencies."

They call the O.J. trial "the trial of the century." It pales in significance to King v. Jowers. A European reporter covering the trial remarked: "You Americans are always talking about 'the trial of the century!' Well, this is the trial of the century, and none of your reporters are covering it!"

Well, there was one. His name is James Douglass and he wrote an insightfully important article on the case. In it, Douglass reports on the major pieces of evidence that point to the unbelievable (and undeniable?) conclusion that the United States government killed the greatest American apostle of nonviolent freedom-making.

Exhibit A: Former CIA operative, Jack Terrell, testified of J.D. Hill's confession that he was a member of an Army sniper team in Memphis when King was killed. After training for a triangular shooting, they took positions in a water tower and two buildings in Memphis when their mission was canceled.

"Hill said he realized the next day that the team must have been part of a contingency plan to kill King if another shooter failed," Douglass reports in an article you can check out at Also see the trial transcript at

Back to Jowers. He told Andrew Young that he received a smoking rifle at the rear door of his restaurant, Jim's Grill, which is across the street from the Lorraine Motel where King was shot with a rifle. This is in flat contradiction to the incredible official story, which is that after James Earl Ray shot King he ran out of the infamous rooming house and dropped the murder weapon on the sidewalk before fleeing!

Jowers said he broke the rifle down into two pieces and wrapped it in a tablecloth. The next day he gave it to the same man who had dropped the rifle off at his restaurant two days before that. The man's named was Raul, Jowers said, the same man that James Earl Ray claims to have set him up.

On the evening when King was killed, the police protection around him was withdrawn. A black Memphis police detective, Ed Redditt, was removed from his post at Memphis Fire Station No. 2 - across the street from King's motel - under orders from Memphis police and fire director, Frank Holloman.

Holloman, a retired FBI agent, was J. Edgar Hoover's appointments secretary. Holloman told Redditt his life had been threatened.

Redditt was brought home, and when he arrived at his house the radio news was reporting that King had been shot at the Lorraine Motel.

Former Memphis police Capt. Jerry Williams testified that before King was killed he was told by his superiors that someone in King's entourage asked for no security, which seemed strange to Williams because whenever King came to Memphis, he and a unit of black officers would serve as bodyguards for King.

Then there's Marrell McCollough. Jowers says he met with McCollough, Memphis police lieutenant Earl Clark, a third officer and two men Jowers didn't know but whom he thought were federal agents. McCollough, who in 1968 was an undercover officer for the Memphis Police Department, now works for the CIA. There's a famous photo where King is lying on the balcony moments after he was shot and someone is kneeling next to King checking his vitals. That man is McCollough, one of the first to reach King after he'd been shot.

When King was shot, many witnesses pointed to the bushes as the place where they heard the shot come from and where they saw smoke seconds after the fatal bullet was fired. The next morning, those bushes - the ones right in between the Lorraine Motel and Jowers' restaurant - were cut down and cleared out by the Memphis Sanitation Department under orders from the Memphis police, as testified to by Maynard Stiles, who was then a sanitation department official.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. But don't take my word for it. Go check it out for yourself.

Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and syndicated columinist. He can be reached via email:

Copyright 2000 Cape Cod Times


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