Time: Mon Jul 14 21:37:18 1997
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Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 21:22:40 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Ray's Gun Didn't Kill Dr. Martin Luther King (fwd)

>Ray's Gun Didn't Kill MLK
>Associated Press
>July 11, 1997
>                 MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Most of the test bullets fired from
>                 a rifle belonging to James Earl Ray had marks
>                 different from the slug that killed Martin Luther
>                 King Jr., a judge said Friday morning. 
>                 "This comparison revealed that the gross and unique
>                 characteristic signature left on the 12 test bullets
>                 by the James Earl Ray rifle was not present on the
>                 death bullet," Criminal Court Judge Joe Brown said. 
>                 Brown commented at the opening of a hearing where
>                 Ray's lawyers asked for additional tests on the rifle
>                 to try to reinforce the findings from recent test
>                 firings at the University of Rhode Island. 
>                 Ray's lawyers hope the tests will pave the way for a
>                 trial for Ray, who is serving a 99-year sentence in a
>                 Nashville prison for the 1968 assassination of King.
>                 Ray confessed but recanted days later, saying the
>                 admission was made only to avoid the death penalty. 
>                 His guilty plea has been upheld eight times by state
>                 and federal courts. 
>                 William Pepper, one of Ray's lawyers, told Brown the
>                 FBI test-fired bullets from Ray's gun shorty after
>                 the killing, but never provided them to Ray's legal
>                 team. He said they could be key to determining
>                 whether Ray's gun fired the fatal bullet. 
>                 "That evidence should be here and should be made
>                 available to us," he said. 
>                 In Rhode Island, criminalists fired Ray's gun into a
>                 tank of water, then had them analyzed under a
>                 powerful microscope to compare markings on them to
>                 the bullet removed from King. 
>                 Robert Hathaway oversaw the tests and was to testify
>                 at the hearing. Before he took the stand, Brown
>                 shared some of the preliminary findings. 
>                 "For ... 12 test bullets ... analysis revealed that
>                 there was a unique and gross characteristic that was
>                 common to each of these test bullets. This
>                 characteristic appears to be the signature of a rare
>                 defect in the bore of the James Earl Ray rifle," he
>                 said. 
>                 Prosecutors said they had not been provided with a
>                 written account of the tests, and Pepper acknowledged
>                 one had not been made yet. 
>                 The .30-06 hunting rifle Ray bought in Alabama and
>                 brought to Memphis was found near the murder scene
>                 with his fingerprints on it. He contends it was
>                 dropped there to frame him. 
>                 The rifle and death bullet were tested by the FBI and
>                 a U.S. House committee in the 1960s and 1970s, but
>                 those tests could not prove beyond a scientific doubt
>                 that it was the murder weapon. 
>                 The committee concluded in 1978 that Ray killed King
>                 but may have been helped by others before or after
>                 the shooting. 
>                 Meanwhile, a lawyer Ray is planning to ask the
>                 governor to release his client from prison because he
>                 is dying of liver disease. 
>                 "He's got a terminal illness, so he should be allowed
>                 to get out," said attorney Andrew Hall, who is
>                 preparing a petition seeking clemency from Gov. Don
>                 Sundquist. 
>                 Hall said the petition argues that Ray is not a
>                 danger to society and that he is dying. In the past
>                 10 years, Tennessee governors have exercised their
>                 clemency powers four times. 
>                 By The Associated Press

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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