Lawyers Push for More Ballistics Tests on Ray Rifle

  • Share
  • Read Later

MEMPHIS: The questions about whether James Earl Ray's rifle killed Martin Luther King Jr., deepened with test results showing that most of the test bullets fired from the rifle had marks different from the slug that killed King. But because the bullets were fired nearly two decades after the assassination, it's difficult to conclusively say that Ray's rifle did not kill King. Hoping for confirmation, Ray's lawyers are in a Memphis court asking for additional tests. Lawyers told Judge Joe Brown that they were also seeking results from FBI test-firings conducted shortly after the killings but never provided to Ray's defense. Although Ray confessed at the time of his arrest, thus avoiding the death penalty, he recanted days later and has maintained his innocence ever since. The defense says that additional cleaning of the rifle and a new test will clarify the situation in favor of Ray. But the prosecution says they are just grasping at straws. If Judge Brown rules against him, it probably means that Ray, whose guilty plea has been upheld eight times by state and federal courts, has seen the end of his last hope for a new trial.