House Select Committee on Assassinations
Investigation of the Assassination of
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Volume 1, pp. 365-368
James Earl Ray's Testimony (continued)
Chairman STOKES. Yes; do you recognize that document, Mr. Ray?
Mr. RAY. Yes.
Chairman STOKES. What is it?
Mr. RAY. Well, it's a lawsuit entitled Ray v. Percy Foreman L Civil No. 60199.
Chairman STOKES. And let me refer you to the bottom of page 13 and the top of page 14. Would you read what appears there, last line on page 13 and on the top of page 14. Read it out loud.
Mr. RAY. Yes, I will read it out loud.
Do you want to start with the question? Well, I will start with the question on page 13.
Did you tell Mr. Hanes, did you express any opinions to Mr. Hanes as to whether you did or did not like the articles Mr. Huie wrote in Look magazine'as you can see, I am in kind of a bad mental condition.
He seemed like there was an error there.Chairman STOKES. So then that was your statement in that deposition, was it not?
Mr. RAY. That is an inadvertent error. If I made that statement I've never seen, I've never heard the tape recording of it -- I gave this testimony on tape recording. But if I did say -- that, it was inadvertent. But I did mention the blond headed part.
Chairman STOKES. Mr. Chairman, this might be a good time for us to break.
Mr. PREYER. Very well. The Chair once again reminds everyone to remain seated and stationary while the marshals escort Mr. Ray from the room. The marshals are asked to take Mr. Ray from the room at this time.
The committee stands recessed until 2 o'clock this afternoon.
[Whereupon, at 12:03 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 2 p.m. the same day.]
Mr. PREYER. A quorum being present, the meeting is called to order. I will ask everyone to be seated, and the marshals to close the doors. Since there may be people in the audience this afternoon who were not here this morning, I want to repeat the security precautions which are being taken in this matter.
The rules which the Marshal's Service have asked us to observe apply to everyone, including the representatives of the media. Any time that Mr. Ray is standing or otherwise being escorted to or from the witness table, absolutely no one in the room is to stand. All people, reporters, and photographers included, are to remain seated and stationary. No
one is to move until the Chair gives permission for people to leave their position. Any person violating this rule will be summarily removed from the room by the marshals, and barred from attendance at all future hearings of this committee.
The Chair at this time asks the marshals to escort Mr. Ray into the hearing room.
The committee is ready to resume the questioning of Mr. Ray by Mr. Stokes. I will mention to you the TV cameras have requested that Mr. Ray and Mr. Lane exchange seats. It is of no particular concern to the committee who sits where, but I pass that suggestion on to you.
Mr. LANE. Thank you, Mr. Preyer.
Mr. PREYER. The idea is so that Mr. Ray may be more clearly seen.
Mr. LANE. Thank you very much.
I wonder if at this time we might take a look at the exhibit which was here before the recess, which contained Mr. Ray's testimony. He and I both believe that perhaps inadvertently -- probably inadvertently -- he was tricked or misled by the questions asked by Congressman Stokes about that. So I wonder if we might see that document again.
Mr. PREYER. At this time the Chair will recognize Mr. Stokes for any comments he may care to make on that, and any further questions.
Mr. LANE. Well, Mr. Stokes, I request that we be given an opportunity to look at that document one more time for just a moment.
Mr. STOKES. Does counsel have reference to the deposition
Mr. LANE. Yes, that is correct, Mr. Stokes.
Mr. STOKES. Sure. That is exhibit F-23, MLK.
Mr. RAY. Thank you.
Mr. LANE. Mr. Stokes, I think that you have offered the top of page 14 of exhibit F-23 -- Mr. Stokes, I was -- is this the appropriate time to proceed?
Mr. STOKES. Yes; I am listening to you.
Mr. LANE. Thank you.
I think that you offered the top of page 14 of MLK exhibit F-23 as what you say was an apparent contradiction because it followed the statement of complexion, yet I note that there is no reference whatever to complexion on page 14. It seems quite likely that in this deposition Mr. Ray was describing the height and then the weight of a person saying -- "his description was 5 feet, 10 inches and a little bit lighter than me." and you turned that into a complexion question. I think that that tended to mislead Mr. Ray. I am sure it was an inadvertent effort on your part.
Mr. STOKES. If counsel desires to have that interpretation of the witness' answer, then that is perfectly agreeable to me.
Mr. LANE. Perhaps we could ask Mr. Ray what his interpretation is.
Mr. STOKES. I will. Mr Ray, would you care to clarify that?
Mr. RAY. Well, since it has 5 feet, 10 inches to begin with, and then it says "lighter," I assume that it would be lighter in weight. I am just basing that on the fact that -- let me read it again. Also I was associated with a man named Roual, out there several times, and I wanted to detail in the writing what his description was, 5 feet, 10 inches and a little bit lighter than me, and a dark-haired man.
Mr. STOKES. And is it that you would have us understand that when you made that reference, "a little bit lighter than me," that you were talking about weight rather than complexion?
Mr. RAY. Oh, yes. I am almost positive, because the individual did weigh about 140 or 145 pounds, and I assumed that was lighter.
Mr. STOKES. Then, counsel, we accept the witness' clarification on that point.
Mr. LANE. Thank you, Mr. Stokes.
Mr. RAY. Could I say just one other thing?
Mr. STOKES. Sure.
Mr. RAY. When I first come down in the Federal prison, I had some type of altercation, and subsequently they wanted pictures of me down here. Subsequently I have had my first full meal today, and I haven't slept too much. So I want to stay up here until the committee gets all the questions they want of me, but I don't want to stay up here today, if it is possible, until I am exhausted. I think after today I think I will be all right.
Mr. LANE. This is a matter, which you may know, which is pending before Federal district court, and Judge Bryant is waiting for Mr. Blakey and myself on the question of his confinement and the mistreatment of Mr. Ray. There is no question but that the lights were on in his cell all night long last night.
Mr. PREYER. Would it be agreeable to continue until 4 o'clock this afternoon rather than 5 o'clock?
Mr. LANE. Well, I know Mr. Ray a little bit, and I saw his hands begin to shake, and that is very unusual for him. I have never seen that response, and that happened toward the end of the testimony. If we could adjourn now and let us take care of this matter, because the matter will be -- the same problem will come up tomorrow if he is forced to go into solitary confinement with lights on him all night long. We will have the same problem tomorrow.
Mr. PREYER. Well, let me ask Mr. Ray, do you feel that you could continue until say, 3:30 or 4 today?
Mr. RAY. Well, I could go ahead, I guess, until 3 o'clock. The only thing is that I am kind of sleepy and tired, but I will -- but I think I could--
Mr. PREYER. Well, the Chair suggests that we proceed to, say, 3 o'clock, and we will see what condition you are in and how you are feeling at that time.
Mr. LANE. Mr. Preyer, I am going to ask again that we adjourn at this time. My client says he is tired, and sleepy.
Mr. STOKES. Mr. Chairman, may I--
Mr. LANE. I know he has not slept in 48 hours, and I don't think it is fair--
Mr. STOKES. Mr. Chairman--
Mr. LANE. If I May just--
Mr. PREYER. Recognize Mr. Stokes.
Mr. LANE. I wonder if I could finish the sentence, Mr. Preyer. Would that be appropriate?
Mr. STOKES. Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the committee might consult with the Chair at this point.
Mr. PREYER. Sure.
(An off-the-record discussion was held.]
Mr. PREYER. The committee wants to be fair to Mr. Ray in this matter, and at this time the committee will adjourn until 9 o'clock tomorrow morning. Let me again caution everyone in the audience to please remain seated and stationary when Mr. Ray is escorted from the hearing room.
The marshals may escort Mr. Ray out at this time.
Mr. LANE. Thank you for your kindness, Mr. Preyer.
[Whereupon, at 2:17 p.m., the committee adjourned, to reconvene at 9 a.m., Thursday, August 17, 1978.]
[End of HSCA-MLK Volume 1]