House Select Committee on Assassinations
Investigation of the Assassination of
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Volume 1, pp. 87-112
Mark Lane, Counsel of Record
Mr. PREYER. If so, you will be recognized for 1 hour.
Mr. RAY. Subsequent to making the original statement, there has been two, three other things brought to my attention. I don't think it would take any more than 3 or 4 minutes from the hour, if that would be all right. That would be OK with the Chair?
Mr. PREYER. Mr. Ray is recognized.
Mr. RAY. The first matter is the statement by James E. Ray dated August 16, 1978. I wish to make a very brief opening statement which I will read before getting to the written statement which you have. It deals with the information of the greatest importance, and information which we just received yesterday.
My lawyer, Mark Lane, has just examined three FBI documents which provide further evidence of possible FBI and Memphis Police complicity in the conspiracy to murder Dr. King.
An FBI document dated April 13, 1968 to J. Edgar Hoover, then the director of the FBI from the Memphis special agent in charge of the FBI numbered 44-38861 and marked urgent, was titled: "Murkin, Civil Rights, 00: Memphis," and began, "The following is a summary of investigation conducted in the Memphis Division, April 12. Instant, Lorraine Motel."
Page 4 of the document reads as follows: "Interview of Marrell McCollough, male negro resident -- several words removed -- employed as warehouseman and who had been doing volunteer work with the SCLC and related sanitation strike support groups in Memphis advised and interviewed night of April 11 last that he was standing in parking lot of Lorraine Motel on the evening of April 14 last. He saw Dr. Martin Luther King standing on balcony of the second floor of motel looking in a westerly direction. McCollough heard an explosive sound or gunshot and saw King falling backward. Immediately McCollough looked westward toward the building in the 1400 block West Main. Saw no one with a gun in any of the buildings. Saw no one on the street or ground area near motel with a gun and saw no one running from the area.
"McCollough ran up steps to balcony and was first to reach King. King was flat on his back, with head pointed in a southeasterly direction, and feet pointed in a northeasterly direction. He was obviously dead, and feet pointed in a northeasterly direction. He was obviously dead. McCollough applied pressure to the right cheek."
Page 5 continues, "bone and neck area of King. He was later relieved in this effort by Rev. Ralph Abernathy. Based on position of body directions of wound, McCollough feels that the shot that hit King had to come from northwesterly elevated direction from vicinity of rear or at near 422 1/2 South Main, and not from the ground floor. McCollough has military police experience, manner and appearance excellent. Credibility as witness should be basically sound as to fixing direction of gun."
McCollough insisted that the shot came from the bathroom window of the roominghouse. While your expert witness, Dr. Baden, testified yesterday that all the available evidence could not fix the origin of the shot, the FBI more than 10 years ago established McCollough as an expert who could.
According to an FBI document sent to Hoover by SAC in Memphis, 157-8460, 157-1067, P, on August 26, 1969, regarding the Bureau's Airtel of August 20, 1969, page 3, McCollough was an "Invaders Board of Directors member." That memo then states that McCollough "was actually a patrolman with the Memphis Police Department working undercover from February 1968 until March 31, 1969. He is now assigned to the intelligence unit of the Memphis Police Department."
Page 3. Therefore, FBI documents prove that the first person to reach Dr. King after he was shot, the person to establish the point of origin of the shot and the most militant of the Invaders was a Memphis undercover police officer. McCollough's picture appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the world in that famous picture which shows Ambassador Young, Reverend Jackson and others standing on the balcony with McCollough over the fallen body of Dr. King. It is a most symbolic picture. 
 Photograph referred to above may be found in hearing of Nov. 20, 1978.
Still another FBI document to Hoover from Memphis SAC number 157-109, P, dated April 10, 1968, states that McCollough, spelled in this document "Merril McCloughan," was in fact a "special agent" of the FBI, and a man who, as a special agent, participated in the March 28, 1968 march led by Dr. King and Reverend Lawson. McCollough was one of the Invaders who, as Reverend Abernathy testified on Monday, turned the nonviolent march into a riot. Dr. Abernathy was correct in stating that they were posing as Invaders, but even he did not know that the most active of the right-wing radical activists, the man who reached Dr. King before he did, was a police spy. 
On this other matter, there is an article in the Washington Post dated August 10, 1978, saying a certain number -- well, the article quotes a Congressman, Mendel Davis, saying a certain member of the committee is intending to nail me to the cross.
What I am concerned about this, in one aspect of it, is I anticipate there will be many FBI informers up here testifying. Most of them are paid informers. And some of them even have, you might say, a license to kill. I am referring to Raymond Curtis and Gary Thomas Rowe. So if it is possible that at some time in the future if there are numerous people who testify against me that are ex-convict informers, or some other type of similar type, I would like to make some type of a sworn affidavit denying the accusations.
Mr. PREYER. Mr. Ray, after you make your statement, under the House rules you will be permitted to make a further statement at which time you may bring out any such collateral matters or offer any sworn documents.
Mr. RAY. All right, thank you.
I believe the committee has a copy of this statement. I have made no changes in the statement, although I did type it fairly fast and it was necessary for me to ad some punctuation marks. And in addition I think there will be two or three instances where I will have to -- it would be necessary for me to digress to explain a point.
Mr. PREYER. That will be perfectly acceptable.
Mr. RAY. Thank you.
The statement I am about to give to this committee is essentially the same testimony I would have given the trial court in Memphis, Tenn. in 1969 if that court would have had the fortitude to have ordered a public trial into the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, rather than making an in-chambers deal with the attorney who was allegedly representing me, Percy Foreman, and capitulating to the wishes of the dominant commercial publishing companies and the companies special relationships with the intelligence communities.
In essence, I would have told the trial court and jury that I did not shoot Martin Luther King, Jr., just as I am now telling this committee. And if I would have had a lawyer to represent me I could have offered conclusive proof in support of this denial.
I know several large publishing houses working with the FBI have offered up varied motivational allegations which are referred to below in support of the Government case against me. But it was not I who posted Martin Luther King notes suggesting he kill himself. Rather,
 Mr. Ray is apparently referring to Mr. Merril McCollough, an undercover officer with the Memphis Police Department. Mr. McCollough testified before the committee on Nov. 20, 1978.
it was the FBI. Nor was it the witness who celebrated upon hearing of his death. That too was the FBI. And it was also not I who in the 1930's infected Blacks with syphilis germs for experimental purposes, then declined to treat them. That was the actions of a governmental body with the acquiescence of the dominant press.
In respect to the guilty plea I made in the King case, it is not a difficult matter for an attorney to maneuver his client into a guilty plea to a criminal indictment, especially when the attorney has the active co-operation of the judge and prosecutor. And I am sure every member of this committee with legal experience knows this.
If I could digress just a minute here, Mr. Chairman. For references on this last statement I would suggest "The Crime and Legal Process" by William J. Shamus, copyright 1969 by McGraw Hill, Inc. See part two, section 12, Donald J. Newman, "Pleading Guilty for Consideration in the Study of Bargain-basement Justice." Section 13, Abraham S. Bloomberg, The Practice of Law as a Confidence Game, Organizational Cooperation of the Profession, Section 14, David Sudlow, Normal Crimes, Sociological Features of the Penal Code and the Public Defender's Office. I think this, along with Justice Berger's statement that 30 percent of the attorneys are incompetent might suggest that all guilty pleas are not made in heaven.
Continuing with the statement: But the public doesn't. They think of guilty pleas as they used to think of the FBI, that the pleas are made in heaven. Further, every judge who has laid hands on this case knows that the plea was procured by fraud, and therefore know a trial should have been ordered. But the courts have been more influenced by, say, editorials embedded in Time Magazine articles about the case than they have in the law books.
But maybe I should be in jail, although not for shooting anyone. Rather, for being foolish enough to return to a legal snake-pit, even if the offer was Fort Knox and Charlies' Angels to spend it on once I had reached Canada in 1967.
I believe whatever this committee's ultimate findings are in this matter, it will have performed a valuable service, if unintentionally in unmasking the U.S. judicial system's operations, in league with the dominant publishing companies, and railroading innocent defendants in controversial criminal cases into prison and contributing to the savaging of the defendants through solitary confinement, et cetera, after the defendants are imprisoned. All of this merely because the defendants insisted on the provisions guaranteed to them under the Federal Constitution and lacked the political influence to claim it. That is, for class or other reasons, they were out of favor with the dominant press. In this respect, the syndicated columnist Carl Rowen has written, in effect, that "If any group in the United States does not have influence with the dominant press they can expect to be ground under."
Finally, it would appear that the final act performed by the intelligence agencies/publishing empires when a public figure is murdered and the alleged murderer is decided upon, is for the construction of a psychological profile for the edification of the judiciary. In the instant case the psychological profile as promoted by the FBI, Time Magazine, Time's legman, George McMillan, and United Press International, characterizes the witness as thus:
One, a narcotic addict, Time Magazine, January 26, 1976 issue. A narcotic peddler, Time Magazine, January 26, 1976 issue. A sex devi-
ate, type unexplained, Time Magazine, January 26, 1976 issue. Mainlined drugs, FBI, United Press International Wireservice release, January 25, 1978. Sent obscene letters to post office, 1967-68 period, FBI, United Press International Wireservice release, January 25, 1978. Involved in drug traffic, FBI, United Press International Wireservice release, January 25, 1978. And lastly, cheated fellow prisoners in crooked card games.
In regard to the above-mentioned psychological profile I will accept the profile as the type of person who would shoot Martin Luther King, Jr. Further, as I did in a letter to Attorney General Griffin Bell, exhibit B, if any one of the aforementioned accusations can be substantiated by the record, prison records, military records, employment records, or any responsible official conversant with said records, then I will appear before this committee and take full responsibility for the King murder. When I refer to records that does not include FBI-purchased information from their informers.
While the Government and Government press was erecting and disseminating the aforementioned psychological profile, the FBI was also harassing various members of my family in order to maneuver them into a position whereby they would have to perjure themselves against me in some manner related to the King case in order to escape imprisonment themselves. For instance, the FBI evidently burglarized my sister Carol Pepper's home in 1968 looking for incriminating evidence. See Jack Anderson column, November 8, 1977.
Two. The FBI had my brother, John L. Ray, prosecuted and convicted for aiding and abetting a bank robbery, and the trial judge, now FBI Director, William H. Webster, sentenced him to 18 years, while the actual robber later had his charge transferred to the eastern district of California, where Federal Judge M.D. Crocker sentenced the robber to 18 months.
Three. And the wireservices reported on August 8, 1978 that the FBI had paid an informer, Oliver Patterson, to steal letters, wiretap conversations, et cetera, from another brother, Jerry W. Ray.
If I can digress just here a second, I think, sir, the FBI -- I believe that was this committee -- yes, continuing the statement--
On April 23, 1967, I escaped from the Missouri State Penitentiary in a bread box in the manner as follows: Several days prior to the escape I fashioned a board approximately 3 by 4 feed, which would fit inside a box used to transport break outside the prison. In addition, I made several holes in the lower sides of the box with a hammer -- airholes. Thereafter, on April 23, 1967, I entered the prison kitchen early -- I worked afternoons -- at approximately 8 a.m. Later I entered the bread box where bread from the bakery is loaded into the box to be trucked to a prison farm. Some time after entering the bread box I got into the bread box and covered myself with a 3- by 4-foot board. Thereafter, a prisoner filled the box with bread, and then transferred the box downstairs by elevator onto a platform used to load trucks transporting items outside the prison compound.
Shortly thereafter, the box, with me enclosed, was placed on a waiting truck. The truck then proceeded through a prison security gate, where a guard searched the box by raising the lid and viewing inside. After passing through the prison gate, I got out of the box. After the truck crossed the Missouri River Bridge, nearby the prison farm, it stopped before turning into the road leading to the farm. When the truck stopped, I disembarked.
I then crossed the highway, turned right, and followed the dirt road until I came upon several junked automobiles. I stayed in one of the vehicles up until dark, then left the vehicle, crossed under the bridge that I had previously crossed in the bread truck. I then made my way to a nearby railroad track.
I had departed the prison with several candy bars, and in addition had taken some bread from the bread truck. I also had taken from the prison, on my person, approximately $250, and a radio, along with a social security card number under the name of John L. Rayns, and two phone numbers.
After a period of walking the railroad tracks, I crossed via a switch onto another set of tracks. After walking two or three nights on the tracks, and sleeping days, and having run out of food, I came upon a trailer. Apparently the trailer was intended as a fishing cabin, as I believe it was located near a river. I entered the trailer and found a bottle containing wine, and several items of food.
Upon leaving the trailer, I had the wine and food with me. It is my recollection that during this approximate period I again crossed a switch onto another track. However, during all the walking I was moving in the general direction of Kansas City, Mo.
On the 4th or 5th day out I was also traveling by day. On one of these days it commenced raining, and I moved underneath a trestle and started a fire. Shortly thereafter a handcar stopped over the trestle. The two operators of the car disembarked and inquired of me about the smoke. I explained that I had been caught in the rain and had started the fire to dry out. They said all right, and left.
During this period my shoes had fell off, and consequently I had to make a forcible entry into a store to obtain another pair.
On the 6th day I observed a small town. That evening I entered the town, purchased food and drink, and then returned to the railroad tracks. Later that evening I caught a freight train traveling in the directon of St. Louis, Mo.
I arrived in St. Louis while it was still dark. After a period of waiting in the railroad yards, and when it commenced to lighten, I made my way to South St. Louis to the residence of an individual who called himself the "Catman." His apparent given name was Jack Gawron. I intended for Mr. Gawron to arrange for my transportation to Edwardsville, Ill., however, Gawron was not home. Therefore, I caught a taxi to East St. Louis.
Thereafter, I caught another taxi to Edwardsville, Ill., then to the bus station, wherein I boarded the bus bound for Chicago, Ill. Although I am not certain, I believe I paid the bus driver the fare rather than purchasing the ticket in the station.
Upon arriving in Chicago, on April 30, 1967, I made my way to 2731 North Sheffield and rented a room. On May 3, 1967 I applied for a job as a dishwasher at the Indian Trail Restaurant in Winnetka,
Ill., a Chicago suburb. I learned of the job from an advertisement in the Chicago Tribune newspaper.
I received the job, and shortly thereafter I purchased a 1960 Chrysler for $100. I purchased the Chrysler in order to accumulate identification and commute to and from work. I also took a drivers test and passed. However, although I received a temporary driving permit, I never received the permanent license. I used the name John L. Rayne during this period.
While I was employed by the aforementioned restaurant, I wrote the Canadian consul in Chicago inquiring about Canadian immigration procedures. In reply the consul mailed me several brochures.
On or about June 27, 1967, I terminated employment at the Indian Trail Restaurant. Thereafter I drove to Quincy, Ill., to wait for the last check to clear from said restaurant employment. It was also my intention to visit while in Quincy an aunt, Mrs. Frank Fuller, and to see one or two acquaintances.
I stayed in Quincy approximately 12 days, although I did not see my aunt.
During the period in Quincy I stayed alternatively in two hotels, one being located on the corner of Second and Oak Streets, and the other on the corner of Third and Oak Streets. The only individual that I saw and was familiar with in Quincy was Ted Crowley, a proprietor of a local club. I may have told Mr. Crowley something to the effect that I had recently been released on parole from prison.
After staying in Quincy, Ill., for the above-mentioned period, I returned to Winnetka, Ill., to pick up the check I had coming from the Indian Trail Restaurant. It is also my recollection that I checked into a hotel located at 1648 West Lunt Street for a couple of days.
If I may digress just a minute here, Mr. Chairman, I think I also stayed at this Lunt Street -- in fact, I know I did, while I was working at the restaurant, because it was 4 or 5 miles closer to employment.
Continuing with the statement: After picking up the check, I decided to drive to East St. Louis, Ill., and possibly see family members before moving to Canada. On the road to East St. Louis I developed car trouble. I recall sleeping in the Chrysler one night, and a highway patrolman waking me and asking me if I had any problems.
In East St. Louis I stayed one night in a rundown hotel near downtown. The next day I sold the Chrysler to a service station operator for approximately $50. I then purchased in East St. Louis on July 15, 1967, a red Plymouth for $200. I had a problem making the purchase, although I don't recall what the problem was.
I phoned Jack "The Catman" Gawron during this period, met him in East St. Louis, and had him purchase me a pistol from a fence he knew, and that he cod pay for pension day. I told Gawron to tell my family members that I was leaving the country and would try to contact them later, and for him not to mention to the police that he had seen me, unless he wanted to go to jail.
Later that day I drove to Indianapolis, Ind., staying in a hotel that night. The next day I crossed into Canada via the Windsor Tunnel in Detroit, Mich. I slept along the road the night of July 16, 1967, and the next day I entered the environs of Montreal, Canada, staying in a motel part of the day.
The next day I entered Montreal proper and one of the first things I did was inquire of a travel agency via telephone, the procedure for a Canadian to acquire a Canadian passport. I was informed that I must have a guarantor who would testify that he/she had known me for 2 years. That evening in Montreal, on St. Catherine Street East, in a nightclub, I was accosted by a prostitute. Subsequently I agreed to go to her place via taxicab.
After we got located in her apartment I gave her the requested $25 fee, and she carried the money to an office. When I left I wrote down the address of the building. The next day I rented an apartment in the Har-K Apartments, located at 2589 Notre Dame East. Then later, I parked my automobile close to the building where I had the night before been with the prostitute. That evening I returned to the aforementioned nightclub and, meeting the same girl, again accompanied her via taxi to her apartment. Inside her apartment I gave her another $25, but this time showed her I would go with her to wherever she was taking the money. When she aroused the manager into opening the office I put the pistol on him. We moved back into the office wherein I asked him for the money. Taking out his wallet, he offered me the small amount in it, approximately $5 or $10. When I told him I wanted the rest of the money he spoke about a cabinet nearby, and motioned to a container. Before leaving the office I had the manager lie on a bed and the girl remove her stockings and tie his hands and legs. I then had her get under the bed before departing. Later I found that I had taken approximately $1,700 in mixed currency from the manager's office.
During the next few days I purchased clothing and decided that the only way I could come by travel documents in order to travel to -- leave Canada, would be to either persuade someone to act as my guarantor, or perhaps roll a drunken seaman for his seaman's papers.
During the next couple of weeks I did spend considerable time near the Montreal dock area frequenting bars. I was never able to come by merchant seaman's papers, although I did contact an individual who introduced himself as Roual  I first met him at the Neptune Tavern, 121 West Commissioner Street. He was approximately 35 to 40 years old, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, with dark hair and a red tint in it. He spoke with a slight Spanish accent.
I assumed from his demeanor and conversation that our interests could be compatible, and after a couple of meetings it was established that I was interested in some type travel documents, while his interest was in locating someone who would, for a price, help him move some type contraband through U.S. Customs at the Canadian border. During the initial meeting with Roual, perhaps three or four times, nothing was decided definitely mainly because I had decided to make a vacation in a Laurentian Mountain resort and while there enlist the assistance of someone, preferably female, in procuring a Canadian passport, that is, attempting to find someone who would act as my guarantor in making application for a passport.
Subsequently I did drive to the Gray Rocks Inn in the Laurentian Mountains and met a woman, and later I saw her again in the Ca-
 The name "Roual" as spelled by Mr. James Earl Ray, as compared to the generally acceptable way of spelling that the committee uses "Raoul."
nadian capital of Ottawa. However, I learned she was employed by the Canadian Government and thus considered it ill-advised to discuss the guarantor question with her.
Therefore, in returning to Montreal from the Laurentian Mountains, I decided to accept any reasonable proposition Roual might offer in return for travel documents. After I returned to Montreal I did meet with Roual several more times. His proposals and my acceptance were in essence that I would meet him in Windsor, Canada at approximately 3:30 p.m., August 21, 1967, near the railroad station in my automobile; that he would then provide me certain packages to transport across the border into the United States, be provided with travel documents and an unspecified amount of money.
That thereafter I would sell the Plymouth automobile and travel to Birmingham, Ala., wherein I would again meet Roual for some similar type smuggling operations, apparently in Mexico. Roual had initially suggested that I go to Mobile, Ala.
I accepted the above-mentioned proposals, although it was my intention that once I laid hands on the travel documents to return to Canada. On August 21, 1967, at approximately 3 p.m., I was parked near the Windsor, Canada railroad station, and after waiting a half-hour or less, Roual came to the Plymouth with an attaché case, entered the automobile, and said, "Let's go."
Starting the automobile, he directed me toward a side street wherein he moved into the back seat after stopping and placed three packages under the backrest. Then returning to the front seat, he directed me toward the tunnel that connected Windsor with Detroit, Mich.
Before we arrived at the tunnel entrance, he asked me to let him out, saying that he would cross separately, and for me to pick him up on the U.S. side. He said he would cross in a cab and to give him a few minutes before I crossed.
I cleared the customs with no difficulty and picked up Roual on the U.S. side of the tunnel. He then directed me to another side street where he removed the packages. I then drove him to the Detroit bus station. Letting him out, he told me to return to Windsor and wait at the same place as before.
I then returned to the Windsor railroad station, and after about 10 or 15 minutes Roual appeared again and we repeated the procedure, except that this time we traveled over the bridge connecting the two countries. However, when waiting in line to cross the bridge, I noticed customs officers were searching several of the automobiles ahead of me.
Recalling I had a television set in the Plymouth, which I was required to declare at customs, and wishing to avoid a search of the Plymouth, I declared the television set. The customs officer then directed me to a special lane and was in the process of searching the Plymouth when another customs officer appeared and, apparently ordering the first customs officer to other duties, told me to pay the television tax in the customs office and leave.
When I later met Roual on the U.S. side of the bridge, he appeared somewhat nervous and I informed him that I had been held up in customs and showed him the television tax receipt provided by customs.
Now, if I can digress here 1 minute, please, I was back using at that time the Rayns name again, and the receipt customs gave me was made
out to John L. Rayns, and after I got across the bridge I was using the Galt name again.
Anyway, to continue with the statement, we then drove to a side street in Detroit, and moving to the back of the Plymouth, he removed the three packages from behind the back seat backrest. Moving into the front seat of the Plymouth, Roual gave me approximately $1,500 in mixed currency; however, offering some excuse, he said he was unable to obtain the travel documents, although he did assure me he would be able to come by the papers at a later date. He also suggested I dispose of the old Plymouth and then we could purchase a later model automobile when we met in Birmingham, Ala.
He told me he would write me in care of general delivery, Birmingham, Ala., under the Galt name. Also, he gave me a New Orleans, La., telephone number if I needed to contact him.
Thereafter I left him at the bus station and drove to Chicago, Ill., wherein I gave my brother, Jerry W. Ray, the Plymouth and caught a train to Birmingham, Ala. I arrived in Birmingham, August 25, 1967. The next day I rented a room at 2608 Highland Avenue under the name of Eric S. Galt.
The following Monday, August 28, 1967, I checked at the general delivery window in the main post office inquiring about mail addressed to Eric Galt. The postal clerk asked me for my middle initial, and when I supplied the letter "S," he gave me a letter from Roual.
In the letter, Roual asked me to meet him at the Starlite Cafe located directly across the street from the post office that evening. Later I met him in the Starlite and he asked me try to locate for sale a late model automobile. The next day I found through a newspaper ad a 1966 Mustang. That evening I again met Roual in the Starlite and described the Mustang to him. He said it sounded all right and the next morning he gave me $2,000 with instructions to buy the Mustang.
Later in the morning I took a taxi to 701 South 48th Street and purchased the Mustang from its owner, Mr. William D. Paisley. After purchasing the automobile, I drove to the Starlite Cafe, picked up Roual, and from the Starlite on to the residence that I was staying at on Highland Avenue, parking on a mall in front of the residence.
Before departing, Roual asked me and I gave him a set of keys to the Mustang. He also wrote down my address and phone number. He then gave me $500 for living expenses and another $500 for a list of camera equipment. Last, he gave me another telephone number in Baton Rouge, La., as a backup number and suggested I lay low for a month or so and he would contact me about the business at hand and the matter of travel documents for me.
During my stay in Birmingham, Ala., I rented a bank vault, accumulated identification under the Galt name, and made the camera purchase as Roual requested. I also contracted a lingering virus, apparently in Canada, and was treated for the ailment by a Dr. Schwartz in Birmingham.
Subsequently I was contacted by Roual's apparent representative asking me to meet Roual in New Orleans, La., in April 1968. [sic]. If I may digress here, it is possible I contacted him rather than he contacted me, because I was having trouble purchasing the camera equipment.
On or about October 6, 1967, I departed Birmingham, Ala. en route to New Orleans, La., intending to meet Roual in New Orleans. The next day or day after, upon arriving in Baton Rouge, La., I phoned the Baton Rouge number Roual had given me. Unable to reach the party, I then phoned the New Orleans number and did not reach this party.
I was told to proceed on to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and was given the name and address of a motel to check into after arriving in Nuevo Laredo. Before leaving Baton Rouge, I mailed back to the Birmingham bank the safety deposit vault key, assuming I would not be returning to Birmingham, Ala.
Upon leaving Baton Rouge for Mexico, on or about October 7, 1967 in the evening. Upon inquiry from a policeman or a cab driver, I located the motel I was earlier instructed to check into. After I had signed into the motel and waited a couple of hours, Roual appeared and asked me how I was getting along and if I was ready for business.
He asked me if I had a visa and I replied no. He then said he would cross the border into Mexico. Leaving the motel we drove down to a local square where I let him out. He said to give him a few minutes to catch a taxi and then to meet him on the other side of the border.
Picking him up on the other side, he directed me north for maybe seven or eight blocks, and then westward a couple of miles, ending on the side street behind another automobile and beside a frame house. He then removed a tire from the other automobile, placed it in the trunk of our Mustang, and directed me back toward Mexico.
On the way to the Mexican customs, he told me to apply for a visa, and when customs officials commenced searching the Mustang, give them each a dollar and they would only make a perfunctory search. When we neared the Mexican customshouse, Roual got out of the Mustang saying to pick him up either beside or in front of the customshouse after I had got the visa.
I then applied for the visa. The person who issued the visa asked for a voter registration slip for identification but accepted a driver's license and pink slip title in lieu. When the customs officers commenced searching the Mustang and placing a customs mark on the enclosed items, I have them each a dollar and they waved me through.
After leaving customs, I picked up Roual beside the building and we returned to the motel by a circuitous route. I pulled into the motel driveway and the tire was removed and placed in the automobile it was originally removed from earlier on. Roual told me he would see me again in the morning, and as I backed out of the driveway I briefly saw the profile of the person driving the other automobile.
The next morning Roual showed up and asked me if I were ready, and upon an affirmative reply, I checked out of the motel. Upon leaving, he rode with me for about six blocks and then he got into another automobile after telling me to follow the other car.
Once outside the city, we stopped again and the tire was placed in my automobile, with Roual telling me to follow him until we had cleared the interior customs house. About 50 kilometers further on, we entered the customs check. Roual's car was held up. However, after checking my bag tag, I was waved on through by the inspector.
Later a couple of kilometers down the road, Roual passed me and stopped in front of me, in front of the Mustang. Roual got into the Mustang and offered some type of apology about still not being able to come by travel documents for me. However, he gave me $2,000. He then asked me if and where he could meet me in the future.
I told him I most likely would travel to Los Angeles, Calif. He said then he would contact me there through post by general delivery. He also gave me another New Orleans, La., telephone number and asked if I had the old telephone number. I think I gave him the old telephone number.
Traveling through Mexico, I ultimately ended up in Puerto Vallerta. During my stay in Puerto Vallerta, I attempted to trade the Mustang for a piece of real estate and thus stay in Mexico. I also saw an advertisement in the U.S. News & World Report magazine asking for persons interested to make application for immigration to Rhodesia.
I wrote to the address listed for information about the matter but never received a reply while in Mexico. I departed Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on or about November 15, 1967, traveling north toward the United States. On the way I gave a hitchhiker a ride to the border.
After arriving near the border separating Mexico from the United States, I stayed overnight in a motel at Tijuana. The next day in preparing to leave the motel for the United States, as was my practice I searched the Mustang. Down between the front seat and the gear box I found a cigarette case with a pack of cigarettes in the case. Inside, between the case and the pack, was a business card. The name and most of the accompanying information had been inked out. What I could see that was still partly visible was the name "New Orleans" and the letters "LEAA."
On the back side of the card was the handwritten name of Randolph Erwin Rosen. Retaining the card, I crossed the border into the United States.
If I can digress here just a second, in the September 1977 -- I am still on the statement -- in the September 1977 issue of Playboy magazine, Playboy reported that in 1967, LEAA was not in existence. However, upon inquiry by a party representing me, LEAA offices in Washington, D.C., stated that prior to 1968, a forerunner to LEAA, which I believe was OEAA, was in existence and operated in New Orleans.
Further, upon request, the late Mr. Clyde Watts, an attorney with offices in Oklahoma City, Okla., investigated in 1964 [sic] and reported thereafter that Randolph Erwin Rosen was in fact Randolph Erwin Rosenson.
On November 19, 1967, I arrived in Los Angeles, Calif. and rented an apartment located at 1535 North Serrano Avenue. Then later on January 19, 1968, I moved to 5533 Hollywood Boulevard, residing there until March 17, 1968.
During my stay in Los Angeles, Calif., I made the following attempts to find employment. I placed an ad in the "Help Wanted" sec-
tion of the Los Angeles Times newspaper, contacted the Big Bear Resort in the interior of California, took a bartending course, applied at two hotels for employment, filled out an application for employment with the Internal Revenue Service.
I made the following inquiries and acts in an attempt to leave the United States. After reading in the local newspaper that U.S. citizens could travel to Colombia, South America, without a passport, I checked into this matter. I contacted several organizations about information pertaining to Rhodesian immigration.
I phoned the U.S. Coast Guard several times about the procedures to follow in order to gain merchant seaman's papers. In this respect, I had minor plastic surgery on my nose in March 1968 by Dr. Russell Hadley in order that I might change my appearance enough to avoid identification if I needed a picture for the merchant seaman's papers.
In early December 1967, I checked at the general delivery section, main post office, to see if Roual had posted any messages. Finding that he had not sent a communication, I phoned New Orleans under the number he had given me in Mexico.
The person that answered inquired if I could travel to New Orleans in late December. I replied in the positive and thereafter made arrangements with a Charley Stein, whom I had met in a local bar, to help with the driving to New Orleans. When Mr. Stein, who was habitually short of money, and I were ready to leave for New Orleans, about December 5, 1967 [sic], he asked to use my telephone in order to notify his family in New Orleans of his pending visit.
During the trip I phoned my brother Jerry Ray one time. Other than Mr. Stein's busying himself looking for flying saucers, nothing else of interest had transpired on the trip until we reached New Orleans.
Upon reaching the city I dialed the phone number Roual had provided me with in Mexico. I arranged a meeting with him in the Le Bunny Lounge on Canal Street, and during the subsequent meeting in the lounge, Roual told me that in early May he wanted to transport some rifles into Mexico and for me to help him.
He said that there would be about $12,000 in it for me in addition to the usual promise of travel documents. I agreed to his proposition but told him I was low on funds. Subsequently he gave me $500 in $20 notes.
Returning to New Orleans, I moved to the aforementioned Hollywood Boulevard address, residing there when in February 1967 (sic) I received a written communication from Roual asking me to meet him in New Orleans, La., on a certain day in March for a trip to Atlanta, Ga., and to acknowledge the communication. I acknowledged by the telephone that I would be in New Orleans on that date.
If I may digress just here, Mr. Chairman, I am not certain this Georgia address is mentioned in this letter. I was taking a locksmith course at this time by correspondence course and I was interested in completing the course. I didn't make out any change of address cards so I am not really positive about this, but I am inclined to think that I probably mentioned this on the telephone and they might have told me we would be briefly in Georgia, or not briefly, but just in Georgia.
Returning to the statement. Of other possible interest to the committee, during my stay in the Los Angeles area I was robbed of a watch
and the keys to the Mustang outside of a bar on Hollywood Boulevard. Consequently, I had to hire a locksmith to make me another set of keys. I did come by some addresses, although through underground publications advertising unattached females. Later I did use, one of these addresses. See below.
I never attempted to contact any of the persons listed under the advertisements, except one who listed herself as a nympho-something. Of course, I had been in jail for about 6 years.
On or about March 17, 19681 1 departed Los Angeles for New Orleans, La. Apparently I was late in arriving in New Orleans. In calling the party under the aforementioned number, I was told to drive to Birmingham, Ala., and meet Roual in the Starlite Cafe. Arriving in Birmingham and entering the Starlite, again somewhat late, I met Roual and we proceeded to Atlanta, Ga.
Arriving in Atlanta, we commenced searching for an apartment, finally locating a room for rent at 113- 14th Street Northeast. However, because of the intoxicated condition of the proprietor, I had a problem renting a room. Because of the delay, Roual briefly entered the office. After the rental, we went to a restaurant on Peachtree Street for a meal, and while in the restaurant made several arrangements for Roual to meet me at the recently rented room the next day.
The, next day, Roual came to the room I had rented next door to the proprietor's office, and the conversation was a rerun of the previous evening's conversation in the Peachtree Street restaurant. In essence, I was to purchase rifles in Atlanta to be later shown to prospective buyers, but because of an identification problem, all of my identification was listed under the State of Alabama, I suggested we purchase rifles in Alabama, which Roual agreed to do.
Upon leaving, Roual suggested I stay close to the room since he would return in a couple days, and then wanted me to drive him to Miami, Fla. However, he never did appear for the Miami trip.
If I may digress here for just a second, Mr. Chairman, in respect to Miami, Fla., I discussed this matter with Arthur Hanes, the first attorney who represented me in Memphis, but I don't know just how much I talked to him about it. I was giving information to my attorney at that time, Mr. Hanes, and he was giving it to William Bradford Huie, the Alabama novelist, and Mr. Huie was giving it to the FBI, so I was kind of hesitant on giving certain information to the attorney.
However, I did write, to Mr. Hanes one time, if my recollection is correct, and told him not to discuss this Miami business with Mr. Huie. I assume Mr. Hanes still has the letters on this and I believe I have given this committee a waiver on Mr. Hanes.
Returning to the statement. After about a week, Roual did appear and we drove to Birmingham, Ala., to implement what we had previously agreed to do. I checked into the Travellodge in Birmingham. We then checked through the yellow pages of the phone book, and perhaps newspapers, for an establishment that sold rifles, deciding on the Aeromarine Supply Co.
Subsequently, I did purchase a rifle with military specifications at Aeromarine. After the purchase Roual gave me the name of a motel, New Rebel, in Memphis, Tenn., telling me to transport the rifle to the motel and meet him there at a certain date, April 3, 1968, and time,
saying he in the interval had to make a business trip to New Orleans, La.
Thereafter, commencing on March 29, 1968, the day I picked up the rifle, I traveled in the direction of Memphis, Tenn. Subsequently, I rented a room in Florence, Ala.; Corinth, Miss.: De Soto, Miss., and other motel addresses that I cannot recall, although I assume the F.B.I. has the addresses.
I did not at any time deviate from the aforementioned route, and specifically I did not return to Atlanta, Ga., after departing Birmingham, Ala., on March 29, 1968, until April 5, 1968. I arrived in the suburbs of Memphis, Tenn. on April 2, 1968, and checked into the New Rebel Motel in Memphis proper on April 3, 1968. It commenced raining that evening, and at approximately 9 p.m. Roual appeared at the room I was occupying.
Roual told me that it would be necessary to take a room for a few days in Memphis. He also informed me he had a place located near the waterfront and that he or I or both would rent a room at the location in my name. I told Roual that I did not care to have my name used if there were going to be any guns in the place or if we were involved in something we could possibly get arrested for.
I then suggested the name John Willard, that I had used indirectly once before, thus a name I could easily remember that we could use to let a room under. Roual agreed to use the Willard name. He then commented that if everything progressed all right, that he and I would return to Birmingham, Ala., and purchase 10 or more of the scope rifles in addition to a large supply of the foreign brand rifles that I had looked over in the gun store in Birmingham.
He implied that after we had purchased the firearms they would be shipped to New Orleans, La., by boat. Before departing, Roual told me to meet him at the 422 1/2 South Main Street address at 3 or 4 p.m. the next day. He, then wrote down the address on a slip of paper and I wrote down for him the Willard name to use if he should rent a room for me or himself.
He mentioned that if he were not in a room at the South Main Street address when I arrived, he would be in a bar and grill located on the ground floor of the building. He then took the rifle and departed, and that was the last I saw of the weapon.
The. next day I did not check out of the motel until late morning. After having breakfast at a nearby restaurant, I drove to the south part of Mississippi or the south part of Tennessee -- I may have been in Mississippi -- and waited a period of time in the beer house and generally stalled around for the rendezvous with Roual at 422 South Main Street. Now if I may digress here, while I was traveling around during this period, I had a flat tire. It wasn't completely flat, but a slow leak. I did change tires.
Finally I drove to a commercial parking lot. After checking the Mustang into the lot and receiving directions from the parking lot attendant to the location of Main Street, I commenced walking in a general direction toward what appeared to be the main section of Memphis. Further on with the assistance of a policeman, I located Main Street, and traveling south on Main I made at least one inquiry in bars concerning the 422 1/2 South Main Street address.
One of the places of inquiry may have been a Jim's bar. After I had located that apparent address of the South Main Street building I had been. searching for, and which had a Jim's grill on the ground floor I entered the bar and grill looking for Roual. He was not in the, establishment. However, I did notice two white males that I had previously seen in one of the bars I had just recently been in making inquiries concerning the address I was searching for.
One of the two individuals appeared to be noticing me more than was necessary. I am certain that I did not meet Roual in Jim's grill the first time I entered the establishment because of the crowded conditions, unlike the second, and the two individuals in the bar who were not present when I did meet Roual.
I ordered a beer and shortly thereafter departed the tavern, going upstairs to inquire about renting a room. Upon inquiry, the proprietress, informed me she had two rooms to let and showed me both of them. Since the second was only a sleeping room, I rented it, paying with a $20 bill. After signing the registry under the name of John Willard, the only other person I saw or ever saw except Roual in the establishment was an elderly white male who was in the proprietress' office when I first inquired about the room.
Immediately upon retaining a room, I left the building to return to the parking lot to pick up the Mustang. It was now approximately 4 p.m. because of my delay in locating the South Main Street address. Returning to the parking lot, which I estimate was 1 mile from the 422 1/2 South Main Street address, I picked up the Mustang and subsequently parked the automobile almost directly in line with the front of Jim's grill and immediately behind another automobile.
Now, if I may digress here just a second, Mr. Chairman, since I made this statement I found an FBI document, and this might clear up where I was parked -- at or where I wasn't. This document is from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Offices, dated April 7, 1968, and I will read it.
"Lloyd Jowers, owner of Jim's Grill" -- this is where I was parked at -- "418 South Main Street, advised that at approximately 3:55 p.m. on April 4, 1968, he arrived at the grill and parked directly in back of a white Mustang that was parked in the street directly in front of his grill. He stated that he believed that the car had Mississippi license plates on it because they were an orangish-yellow color. He stated that upon parking the car, he went into the grill, where he saw a stranger sitting at the bar having a meal. He stated that it was unusual to get any strange customers in the grill since most of the customers were local people of a steady nature.
"Mr. Jowers described the stranger as follows: Race, white; sex, male; height, 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 9; weight, 160 pounds; build, heavy; age, 27 to 30; hair, sandy; complexion, ruddy; dress, wearing a dark suit. He stated the man finished his meal and left the grill, not noticing in which direction he walked, but he did not get into the white Mustang which was parked in front of the grill.
"Mr. Jowers stated that this same individual returned to the grill at approximately 8 p.m. on April 5, 1968, and ordered breakfast. Mr. Jowers stated in his estimation this individual acted strangely because he seemed very calm when everyone else in the grill in the area was excited over the shooting.
"In view of the fact that he felt the individual was acting strange and also because he was a stranger in the area, Mr. Jowers called the police and was told that he had a man of suspicious nature in the grill. He said that when the stranger finished his breakfast he left the grill and was arrested on the sidewalk in front of the grill by the Memphis Police Department."
Then there are several words blanked out.
"The Homicide Bureau of the Memphis Police Department later identified this arrested individual as Gene Pearson Crawford," and there are several more words blocked out, "Jackson, Tennessee, who was determined to have no part in the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King."
The only reason I mentioned this document was that I am certain that I parked in this area where this car was, and if it could be established when the car was moved, it may be established where I was parked. .
Mr. PREYER. Mr. Ray, if you wish to make that document a part of the record at this point, if there is no objection the Chair will make it a part of the record.
Mr. RAY. I have several other documents that I will get --
Mr. PREYER. We will also arrange to get one without the deletions.
Mr. RAY. Well, I just got this, and I didn't have time to Xerox it, but I will give the committee a copy of everything I have.
Mr. PREYER. Without objection, it will be admitted into the record at this point.
[The FBI document dated April 7, 1968, was admitted into the record and is also part of MLK exhibit No. F-14.]
MLK EXHIBIT F-14 (ATTACHMENT)
Mr. LANE. Is there an exhibit number for this document Mr. Chairman?
Mr. PREYER. I think if you want to put your own -- do you have an exhibit number at this stage?
The exhibit number would be MLK F-14.
Mr. RAY. I believe I left off at the bottom of page 23, second line.
I did not move the Mustang again until approximately 5:40 p.m. the same day. I later noticed upon leaving the roominghouse on one of several occasions that there were several other automobiles parked nearby the same color as the Mustang; a whitish color.
Upon entering Jim's Grill for the second time, I found the individual calling himself Roual was present. This time the bar was not so crowded and Roual was sitting in the lunch-counter section drinking coffee. After the amenities I told him I had some difficulty locating the roominghouse upstairs. We departed almost immediately when he suggested we go upstairs to the room I had rented. On the way out of the grill, he asked me if I had the Mustang with me. I pointed to it, saying, "There it is." Once upstairs in the room I had rented, Roual suggested I put whatever items I have in the Mustang up to the room saying we may have to stay here, 3 or 4 days. He also asked me to purchase a pair of binoculars with infrared attachments saying the "people" also wanted to examine some glasses. Roual gave me directions to a nearby sporting goods store wherein I could purchase the glasses.
Leaving the roominghouse, I was unable to locate the sporting goods store the first trip. Returning to Roual again, he explained to me the location of the sporting goods store. Upon returning to the room after the first trip looking for the sporting goods store, I removed a small traveling case from the Mustang containing personal items and deposited the case in the room. However, because I was somewhat conversant with the type of establishment I was in, what with no locks on the doors or even door knobs, just a strap to pull the door to, and the place an apparent habitat for winos where anyone could enter anyone else's rental at will, I did not carry any of the personal items into the room other than the aforementioned case and its contents except a cover which I used to cover the covering already on the bed. I placed the case under the bed.
On the second trip, seeking the sporting goods store, I located it. Upon inquiring, the salesman informed me the store did not carry infrared attachments for binoculars. I would have to purchase them in an army surplus store. However, the salesman did sell me the binoculars. On the way back to the roominghouse, I stopped at a drug store on the ground floor of the Chisca Hotel and ordered ice cream. While waiting on the order I sat, as customary, directly across from the cash register and distinctly recall the apparent manager, who was a white male, instructing a young black woman on the intricacies of using a cash register; thus, I assumed she had just started working in the store that day.
The attorneys representing me in the King case in 1968-69 were unable to locate the drug store in question. However. in February 1969, I described to a policeman who was guarding me in the Memphis jail the approximate location of the store and he informed me the name of the store.
Mr. PREYER. Mr. Ray, excuse me. Your hour is up, but without objection, you will be permitted to finish your statement.
Mr. RAY. All right, sir.
Mr. PREYER. You may proceed.
Mr. RAY. Thank you.
After returning to the Main Street roominghouse, I told Roual we would have to purchase the infrared attachments at an army surplus store. I also informed him I had not eaten since breakfast. He said to go out and have a meal and take in a movie since he wanted to see some people in private that evening, but to leave the Mustang out in the front, as he would most likely need that that evening or night.
I then went downstairs into Jim's Grill and ordered a beer, although I did not drink it. I say this: because I recall seeing a white waitress on one occasion while I was in the establishment and on a next occasion there was a black waitress on duty.
If I can digress here. The point I am try to make here, I was in the grill on two different occasions at least. On leaving the grill, I sat in the Mustang 10 or 15 minutes before traveling north on Main Street and entering a bar and restaurant located on the left-hand side of the street and fairly near a movie house across the street. I ordered a sandwich and while sitting there, I recalled I had changed the back rear tire on the right side, one facing, the front of the Mustang, the day before after the tire developed a slow leak. Thinking the damaged tire could be fixed, if the Mustang should be used at night, I returned to the Mustang and drove it north on Main Street for maybe three or four blocks before turning right and traveling four or five more blocks to a service station. There were two or three service stations at the intersection.
I inquired of one if they could fix the spare tire while I waited, and I was informed I would have to wait awhile because of the business volume. Moving to the other station, I do not recall asking for the tire to be repaired, although I did have the Mustang serviced.
Upon leaving the station I circled around in a manner that would return me to the original parking space in front of Jim's Grill. However, when driving on through Main Street, I saw a police car parked blocking off the street that I would have had to drive through in order to. return to my original parking space.
In addition, I saw what appeared to be two or three people walking rather fast opposite the police car. I then veered off to the left toward South Memphis, traveling through what appeared to be a predominantly black community. I eventually ended up in Mississippi, traveling toward New Orleans, La. It was my intention to phone a New Orleans where -- it was my intention to phone a New Orleans number in my possession and have the party on the other end attempt to find out what, if anything, had happened in the area of the aforementioned South Main Street roominghouse; however, shortly after entering the State of Mississippi, I heard over the car radio that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been shot in Memphis.
A short while later, approximately 15 minutes, another news bulletin on the radio stated police authorities were looking for a white Mustang and a white male subject as suspect in the shooting of Dr. King.
Consequently, the first intersection I came to, I turned east, traveling toward Atlanta, Ga.
If I may digress for just a second. With respect to this tire I mentioned, 3 or 4 years ago, my brother was talking about my private property in Memphis and he said, as soon as I pled guilty, the attorney general's office called him to the office, and gave him this tire plus the floor boards out of the Mustang -- floor mats out of the Mustang.
But I imagine the Memphis prosecutor's office will substantiate that or disprove it.
Continuing with the statement, by way of Birmingham, Ala., shortly after turning east, I stopped the Mustang and threw various items out of the trunk, including all the camera equipment that Roual had me purchase for him. The equipment was still in the original wrapping cases when I discarded it. It was raining slightly at the time and I took a cloth and attempted to wipe off any fingerprints I may have left on the outside of the Mustang. Several years later, my brother, Jerry W. Ray told me -- I went through this. I will read it again, anyway. Several years later, my brother, Jerry Ray, told me immediately after the guilty plea, the Memphis attorney general's office give him the damaged tire and the floor mats from the Mustang. Thereafter, I drove through Birmingham, Ala., and later into the State of Georgia. Approximately 30 miles from Atlanta, Ga., I ran a little low on fuel and stopped at a service station for gasoline. I arrived in Atlanta approximately 7:30 a.m. I abandoned the Mustang in a private parking lot near Capitol Homes. I then returned to the room I previously rented, located at 113 14th Street, Northeast. I placed everything in a case that it would hold and discarded the remaining items left in the room. I then walked to the Piedmont Laundry, wherein I had left several items of clothing to be cleaned in late March of 1968. I then phoned a bus station for a reservation to Detroit, Mich. Being informed that a bus was leaving Atlanta for Detroit, Mich., that afternoon, I returned to the roominghouse for the case. I then departed the building and called a taxi cab to the bus station wherein I purchased a ticket to Detroit, Mich. The bus was not due to leave Atlanta for several hours, so I checked in the case and traveled several blocks from the bus station and waited in a bar until departure time for the bus.
However, upon returning to the bus station, I learned that the bus would be late in its departure schedule. After the bus did depart for Atlanta, it proceeded on to Cincinnati, Ohio, with a layover in that city of approximately 2 hours. During the layover, I waited in a nearby bar until it closed at 2:30 a.m. Then I waited in the bus terminal another 20 or 30 minutes before the bus departed for Detroit, Mich.
Arriving in Detroit at approximately 7:30 a.m., I then made reservations for a train bound for Toronto, Canada. Before leaving the Canadian side of the border, I took a taxicab to a train station approximately 2 miles from downtown Detroit. Adjacent to the train station was an open square block, park, directly across diagonally from the train station, and across the open lot was a barbershop wherein I had a shave and haircut.
I arrived in Toronto, Canada, at approximately 6:30 p.m., April 6, 1968. After checking my case into a luggage, department, I made MY way west on foot. After walking approximately 2 miles and making inquiries along the way for rental quarters, I eventually found a room for rent at 102 Ossington Avenue. The proprietress' name was Mrs. Adam Szpakowski. I paid Mrs. Szpakowski $10 for 1 week's rent. Mrs.
Szpakowski, who spoke with a heavy accent, did not ask my name, nor did I volunteer the information.
Thereafter, on the following Monday, April 8,1968, I made my way to the offices of the Toronto Evening Telegram and ask to see back issues of the paper for the year 1932. A librarian gave me the requested issues of microfilm and assisted me with the projector. After a time, I choosed several names from the films. Two of the names were Ramon George Sneyd and Paul E. Bridgman. My purpose in obtaining these names was to apply for a passport under one of the names if conditions were favorable.
I. Leaving the newspaper's offices, I made my way back to the room on Ossington Avenue. However, before I got to Ossington, I was stopped and ticketed by a policeman for jaywalking. I had remembered a women's address in Toronto, Canada, 6 Condor Street, from some addresses I had gotten out of an underground publication apparently specializing in "bringing people together." I gave the policeman the Condor Street address as my own. I am fairly certain I also gave my name as Eric Galt to the policeman.
The next day I phoned the local police station inquiring about the ticket. However, the station did not have the ticket on file. After I arrived back to the Ossington Avenue address, I wrote the name Paul Bridgman on a slip of paper and gave it to Mrs. Szpakowski informing her this was my name. The next day I proceeded to contact by telephone several of the names I had gotten from the Toronto Evening Star, telling them I was their registrar general's office investigating a passport matter, inquiring of them if they had ever been issued a Canadian passport.
Eventually I contacted Mr. Ramon George Sneyd, a Toronto policeman, and upon inquiry, Mr. Sneyd informed me that he had never applied for a Canadian passport. Therefore, shortly thereafter, I made my way to the Arcade Photo Studios and had several passport photos taken. I used the Paul Bridgman name in applying for the passport photos.
During this period I had rented another room located at 962 Dundas Street West from a Mrs. Sun Loo. I registered under the name of Ramon George Sneyd and told Mrs. Loo I worked nights, thus, I would be in days -- I spent the nights at the Ossington Avenue address.
Then I visited the Kennedy Travel Agency in Toronto, inquiring about the procedure for obtaining a Canadian passport.
If I may digress here just 1 minute. I think, I am almost positive, I visited either this agency or another agency and found out I wouldn't need a guarantor; that I could make some type of sworn affidavit and bypass the guarantor.
Continuing with the statement, I told the office manager, Mrs. Lillian Spencer, that I did not have a guarantor passport, having just returned to Toronto. Mrs. Spencer informed me that it was not necessary to have a guarantor; rather, I could make a sworn statement that I was a citizen of Canada, have the statement notarized; then her office would apply for the passport.
I did apply for a passport through Mrs. Spencer's office under the name of Ramon George Sneyd and, using the Dundas Street West address. If I had been thorough enough to gain the information during my first trip to Canada in 1969, I am sure I would not be testifying before this committee today.
During this period I also made a brief trip to Montreal, Canada, to inquire about reservations to Europe; ship reservations.
In early May of 1968, my passport in the name of Ramon George Sneyd was presented to me by the Kennedy Travel Agency on March 6. 1968 [sic]. I departed Canada bound for London, England, and arrived in London on March 7,1968 [sic]. Immediately thereafter, I boarded a plane for Lisbon, Portugal. While in Lisbon, and because my finances were such that I could not afford fare to a more distant country, say Australia, I made several efforts to gain transportation to Africa. During one period, in a meeting with a Black and a white male, I attempted to join a military unit in Biafra, but was unsuccessful. Finally I did find a ship with available berth bound for Angola. However, a visa was required to enter Angola and since the ship was leaving for Angola in 3 days and it required 7 days for a visa to be processed, I missed the opportunity.
Returning to London, England, after approximately 10 days in Portugal, I attempted on June 8, 1968, to leave London by airplane destined for Brussels, Belgium. However, I was detained at London's Heathrow Airport by the police and subsequently arrested by English authorities and held for extradition to the United States.
Thereafter, I wrote Messrs F. Lee Bailey and Arthur J. Hanes, Sr., of the Massachusetts and Alabama Bar, respectively, about representation in the matter I was being detained under; namely, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., homicide. Mr. Bailey informed me indirectly there would be a conflict of interest involved if he should take the case, thus declining. Mr. Hanes accepted the case, apparently after contacting the Alabama novelist, William Bradford Huie and presenting me with a literary contract to sign. Thereafter, I was subsequently ordered by an English court to be extradited to the United States and, in fact, was extradited and lodged in the Memphis, Tenn., jail on July 19, 1968.
After I was lodged in the Memphis jail, the aforementioned attorney, Mr. Arthur J. Hanes, Sr., had me enter into a series of literary contracts with him and Mr. William Bradford Huie, the Alabama novelist, in order, Mr. Hanes said, to finance a jury trial in the King case.
Subsequently, in November 1968, my brother, Jerry W. Ray, visited me in said jail and said he had recently visited William Bradford Huie and Huie had offered me indirectly through Jerry $12,000 if I would not take the witness stand in the King case saying: "My testimony from the witness stand would destroy the literary value of the book he (Huie) was writing about the case."
Consequently, when Percy Foreman, a member of the Texas bar, appeared, unsolicited, at the Memphis jail a few days later and visited me I agreed with Mr. Foreman's suggestion that I fire Mr. Hanes and hire Foreman. Percy Foreman had the above-mentioned contracts in hand and said the only thing he was interested in was the money being provided him by Bradford Huie and then promised me, and later the trial judge, that if I retained him in the case he would not become involved with William Bradford Huie in commercial publishing ventures.
Thereafter, this "promise" of Percy Foreman's was of a short duration in that within a few days of becoming counsel of record in the case he made arrangements with William Bradford Huie to have
Arthur J. Hanes' interest in said contracts transferred to himself. Then later in January 1969, Mr. Foreman presented me with a check from Mr. Huie for $5,000 for my endorsement, saying he "needed the $5,000 to retain co-counsel." However, in December 1968, Attorney Foreman had persuaded the trial judge, W. Preston Battle, that no funds were forthcoming from Bradford Huie or elsewhere and thus had the judge appoint the public defender, Hugh Stanton, Sr., as cocounsel. Mr. Stanton had previously represented the state's chief witness, Charley Stephens, in the case; the same Charley Stephens who, for a promise of $10,000 from the U.S. Government, had committed perjury through a sworn affidavit by falsely identifying me through a picture in order for the Government to have me extradited from London, England.
Then in February 1969, Percy Foreman received another $5,000 check from William Bradford Huie. This time he did not bother to have me endorse it. Rather, he just forged my name to it and cashed it in complicity with Planters Bank of Memphis.
After collecting all the money that was available from William Bradford Huie, Attorney Foreman then commenced, on February 13, 1969, maneuvering. me into a guilty plea. Foreman's arguments for the plea were, in essence:
1. That the press had already convicted me by inflaming the minds of potential jurors.
2. That the Government had bribed an alleged witness, Charles Stephens into perjuring himself against me by offering Stephens a $100,000 reward to say he had seen someone favoring me leaving the roominghouse where Dr. King was allegedly shot from immediately after the shot was fired.
3. That it would, in some manner, be in my financial interest to plead guilty as charged.
4. That the trial judge wanted a guilty plea because he was concerned the blacks might burn down the town in respect to Percy Foreman's and the judge's ex parte meetings arranging the plea. Apparently the two had eight meetings.
Then later in March of 1969, Foreman said that if the case was not settled through a guilty plea, the Government would most likely arrest my brother, Jerry W. Ray, under some type of conspiracy charge in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., homicide. He also said the FBI would most likely arrest my father, George Ray, who was then near 70 years old, and have him returned to the Iowa State Prison, wherein he had escaped in the 1930's.
If I may digress here just a second, Mr. Chairman. My brother, John Ray, also mentioned this fact to me around March 7 or 8 of 1969. I think Mr. Foreman, he made oblique reference to this thing; he didn't come out and say it directly, but he made kind of a slanting reference to it. Returning to the statement.
In conjunction with the aforementioned threats and promises, Percy Foreman convinced me he would "throw" the case if I managed to force, him to trial. In fact, in an article published in Look magazine in May of 1961, [sic] sold to the publication by Percy Foreman for $1,000, he, in effect, admitted he would have "thrown" the case if I would have forced him to trial. Consequently, through written contracts, I agreed on March 9, 1969, to enter the guilty plea. My contractual agreements with Percy Foreman in respect to the terms of the guilty plea are as follows:
The first contract -- these are excerpts from the contract.
The first contract: "If the plea is entered and the sentence accepted and no embarrassing circumstances take place in the courtroom, I am willing to assign to any bank... all of my receipts under the above assignment in excess of $165,000."
Second contract: "I am willing to advance Jerry [Ray] $500 and add it to the $165,000 mentioned in my other letter to you today. In other words, I would receive the first $165,000, but I would not make any other advances; just this $500. And this advance also is contingent upon the plea of guilty and sentence going through on March 10, 1968, without any unseemly conduct on your part in court."
During the, period of my confinement in the Memphis jail, which totaled approximately 8 months, the conditions were as follows:
The State of Tennessee retained, or was ordered to retain, two Federal prison officials who, in a first order of business, ordered sheets of metal be placed over all of the windows, thus shutting out fresh air and light. The Federals then had a blower installed for oxygen, which resulted in my having frequent nosebleeds. The blower could only be operated outside the cell block. Because of the lack of natural light, the Federals had lights rigged in the cell block, including the cell I was confined in, which were, kept on 24 hours a day. Complaining to the trial court about being unable to sleep under these conditions, the court said, "Sleep in a mask."
During this confinement period I broke out in a rash. Thinking maybe I had been poisoned, I asked the doctor, who was related to the prosecutor, for a blood test. It required 2 or 3 days to have the test. After the blood sample was finally taken I was never told the test findings. However, in a 1974 habeas corpus hearing, the doctor testified the Memphis sheriff, William Morris, had ordered him to destroy all of the medical records.
If I may digress here, Mr. Chairman. Well, I will wait and get this at the end of the statement. As you said, I can make a statement after I read this.
Of the other possible interest to this committee, while Percy Foreman was representing me, I once provided Percy Foreman with a phone number, possibly connected to the King homicide, to investigate. However, Foreman commented later that if there were to be any phone numbers introduced into the King case "he" would produce them through his interstate gambling connections via a Meyer Lansky.
The day after the guilty plea I was transferred to the State prison in Nashville, Tenn. Upon arrival all of my personal property, including the aforementioned phone number I had written down backward on the sheet of paper was confiscated by the Corrections Commissioner, Mr. Harry Avery 2 or 3 days later, said property was returned to me, excepting various items of personal and legal mail that had been posted to me in care of the Nashville prison.
The first day in the prison I was confined forthwith in solitary confinement and was, on that same day, informed by Corrections Commissioner Harry Avery that I would never be released from solitary confinement unless I ceased efforts to gain a public trial in the King case. He said be was speaking for the highest authority. I had filed a motion for a new trial the day after I entered the prison and so informed Mr. Avery of my intent in this matter.
Thereafter, I was confined for 13 months in solitary confinement and during the initial period of this confinement I had to be treated by a doctor several times for nasal membrane, hemorrhaging. This ailment, damaged membrane, was due to confinement conditions in the Memphis jail, that is, lack of ventilation. In addition, during this period I was also treated for esophagus spasms, also related to the Memphis jail confinement conditions.
After 13 months of this type of confinement I understand the late William E. Miller, recently a judge of the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, interceded with prison authorities and had them transfer me to the State prison at Petros, Tenn. If I had not been transferred, I doubt if I would have been here today.
In late July of 1963, the Petros prison was closed and I was transferred back to the Nashville prison. After being in the general prison population for approximately 4 days, I was summoned to the main prison office and informed I would be returned to solitary confinement. Requesting to see the warden, James Rose, I was informed by Mr. Rose that "people out in town" wanted me placed in solitary confinement but that if I quit litigating the case, he was sure I would be released from solitary confinement. Thereafter, I stayed in solitary confinement for 3 years.
The first 18 months I was permitted out of the cell, which was approximately 6 by 9, 12 feet, for only 4 minutes per day. That was to take a shower. The cell block was infested with insects and rodents. During the 3 years I was in the building, four prisoners committed suicide; two by hanging and two by setting themselves on fire.
Naturally, the dominant press in the United States said nothing about these suicides, although if they had happened in a foreign country, the same press would have been in a self-righteous rage or pretended rage. During this period, specifically in December of 1963, Tennes --yes, December of 1973 -- Tennessee correction officials, acting in collusion with the U.S. Department of Justice, attempted to illegally transfer me to the Federal mental institution in Springfield, Mo. This attempted transfer was after the aforementioned officials learned of a suit that was to be filed in my behalf in Federal court referring to those who may have been responsible for the shooting of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Of other possible interest to this committee during this period: Just recently the aforementioned Corrections Commissioner Harry Avery has stated he gave all the papers, etcetera, he retained of mine and those connected with the King case to Attorney Thomas Wardlow Steele, of the Tennessee, Nashville, bar, and that the papers subsequently disappeared from Mr. Steele's office.
In addition, Attorney Percy Foreman has testified that he, too, gave his complete file in the King case, including all the information I had given Mr. Foreman, to another Nashville attorney, the late John J. Hooker, Sr., and that Mr. Hooker "lost" them.
Sincerely, James Ray.
I have three or four other pages.
Mr. PREYER. The Chair will admit, without objection, your original statement into the record, along with the additions that are attached to it and the insertions which you have added to your testimony will be made a part of the record.
[The statement and attachments, to be supplied, follow:]
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[pp. 113-161: Includes document image scans. The text is essentially the same as the testimony on this page, but the original statement includes several news articles, documents (including the 2nd page of the Gene Pearson Crawford document) and other attachments.]
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