Thursday, April 06, 2006

Assassination Trivia Answers

Merrell McCullough was an undercover officer of the Memphis Police Department, and, according to the Senate Select Committee on Assassinations final report, an FBI operant. He infiltrated a youth group before King's first march for the Memphis garbage workers, and recruited agent provacateurs who caused the mayhem that forced King out of Memphis the first time.

McCullough was also in the parking lot of the Lorraine motel when King was shot,and responded immediately. In the famous photographs of the incident, he is the gentleman leaning over King as he lay dying.

Ed Redditt was a Memphis police detective who feared for King's life, and decided to do everything he could to keep him safe. Among other things, Redditt set up an observation post at a fire station located next to the motel, and kept an eye on King and any potential assassins.

But two hours before the assassination, the chief of police ordered Redditt back to the station, where Secret Service, FBI and other federal people awaited. The Secret Service told Redditt that he was to stand down his guard at the Lorraine, because someone would kill him. Redditt refused to go home as ordered, but was ultimately persuaded to submit himself and his family to protective custody.

Charles and Grace Stephens were neighbors of James Ray at Bessie Brewer's boarding house, across the street of the Lorraine. Grace heard gunshots from the bathroom, and went to the hall to see what the commotion was. She saw a man darting from the bathroom, and going downstairs. Police asked her to identify the man who exited the bathroom, hoping that they could persuade her to pick out James Ray from a number of photographs. She refused to do so.

Charles, a black belt alcoholic, who had been drunk for three days in a row at the time of the shooting, and who never left his room, was persuaded by Memphis police to file committment papers against his wife (Grace had no history of mental illness), who was then carted off to a mental hospital where she stayed for nine years. Charles then identified Ray as instructed.

Mark Lane, an attorney, represented Grace Stephens, and managed to get her out of the loony bin. Lane also represented James Ray. Along with Martin Luther King's personal friend, Dick Gregory, he co-wrote Code Name Zorro, a must-read for anyone interested in the assassination.

Ramsay Clark was US Attorney General at the time of King's Assassination. On the very night it happened, he vowed that the FBI would find the killer, whom he described as a lone assassin--even though the investigation was in its infancy at that point.

Eric St. Vincent Galt was a Union Carbide forman at the company's plant in Toronto, ON. Ray stole his identity while on the lam for his prison escape the previous year. Ray used Galt as his main alias the year prior to the shooting.

Dr. Philip Melanson is a Professor of Political Science at Hobart-Smith College who has done excellent research and publishing on the King (and RFK) assassinations. (Recommended reading: The Murkin Conspiracy)

Earl Caldwell was a New York Times reporter, who was at the Lorraine when King was murdered, and subsequently got the scoop on everyone else. He testified before the Senate Select Committee, and mentions it frequently on his radio show, The Caldwell Chronicles.

Percy Foreman was Ray's second attorney. A powerful man with many connections, Ray dismissed his other attorney and hired Foreman after Percy assured Ray that the case against him was weak, and that he would walk out a free man. Foreman then brokered a deal with a newspaper journalist, William Bradford Huie, to write a book about the case that would help Ray clear his name. Over time, however, Foreman and Huie pressured Ray to plead guilty, mostly by taking advantage of Ray's weakened condition (guards would not allow him to get a full night's sleep for several months), and threatening to have Ray's brother indicted as a co-conspirator. Huie subsequently demonized Ray in the book, He Slew the Dreamer.

Judge Joseph Brown took over for Judge Preston Battle in Ray's bid to get a trial. A firearms expert, Brown concluded from the bench that the shot that killed King could not have come from the Lorraine, and has spoken publically about it since.


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