William F. Pepper
Orders To Kill – the Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Powell’s Books – new or secondhand)
This is the 1998 Warner Brothers edition, updating the first edition with new material. Reviewed for Blather by Angelique Stevenson:
Author William F. Pepper was the man who influenced MLK to oppose the Vietnam War. Quite some time later, convinced that his friend’s supposed assassin was innocent, he became James Earl Ray’s attorney. This book tells the story of Pepper’s investigations into the assassination.
*History*, up until now, had it that Ray was the assassin because he pleaded guilty. It is also *officially* assumed Ray was a *lone gunman* but in fact, when Ray pleaded guilty he made a point of stressing that that didn’t mean there wasn’t a conspiracy.
Ray pleaded guilty because he was coerced and threatened by his then-lawyer Percy Foreman. Three days after his plea, he fired Foreman and requested a trial, which was denied to him. Under the US constitution, he should have been granted this trial: his sixth amendment rights had been infringed because Foreman had previously represented the chief witness for the prosecution.
Unable to get Ray a trial, Pepper came up with the idea of a TV trial. In this 1993 programme, Ray was aquitted. The evidence pointed towards innocence. However, the US establishment would not grant him a real trial.
Who really killed MLK? It was well known and publicized by the 1970s that there was an official campaign of harrassment and surveillance against the Nobel Prize winner by the FBI and the US Army. Did they have any reason to stop at murder? MLK was killed for what was regarded as revolutionary activity. This book explains the why and how of the assassination – and names the man that probably pulled the trigger.
After this book was originally published, Ray received the support of the King family. MLK’s son, Dexter Scott King, provides a foreword to this edition. Unfortunately, the publication of this edition coincided with Ray’s death on April 23rd, 1998.