ORDERS TO KILL -- THE TRUTH BEHIND THE MURDER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING
DURING THE PERIOD OF eighteen years my work on this case has benefited from the assistance of a large number of people to whom I am grateful. Though it is not possible to mention everyone individually, the contributions and sacrifices of some particular individuals have been so significant that they must be recorded.
I wish to acknowledge the courage of John McFerren, "Cheryl" and "Bob," Betty Spates, Louie Ward, Nathan Whitlock, Clifton Baird, Art Murtagh, Bill Turner, Daniel Ellsberg, and William Sartor, as well as my Tennessee associate counsel Wayne Chastain. Each has demonstrated, often under great pressure, the fortitude necessary to try to right the twenty-six year old wrong which both deprived the nation of the unique leadership skills and vision of Martin Luther King and sent an innocent man to prison.
Credit and appreciation is also extended to a number of local law enforcement and intelligence officials who have disclosed pieces of the story or otherwise assisted. This list includes present and former Memphis Police Department officers such as Tommy Smith, Barry Neal Linville, Jim Nichols, Ed Atkinson, Ed Redditt, Jerry Williams, Joe Hodges, Emmett Douglass, and Alex McCollum. A special note of thanks is owed to former MPD officer Jim Smith who told the truth and suffered professional harassment as a result. Too, there was former Memphis Deputy Director of Public Works Maynard Stiles and former Fire Department officers whose contributions were significant including William King, Charles Stone, Floyd Newsom, Chief Norvell Wallace and Lieutenant George Loenneke.
Many people from all walks of life were willing to share what they knew about the case and/or provided an essential base of grass roots support and encouragement. I am particularly grateful to Sid Carthew whose conscience compelled him to take great pains to search me out and Ray Kohlman who gave unstintingly of his time. Among others I am grateful to: James McCraw, Peggy and Charles Hurley, William Ross, Ernestine Campbell, John "Bill" McAfee, John Fisher, "Tango," Tommy Wright, Jerry Little, Hazel Sweeney, Kay Black and the Invaders, particularly Charles Cabbage, Big John Smith, Izzy Harrington, Dr. Coby Smith and Abdul Yawee.
A number of former friends and associates of Dr. King have provided invaluable assistance. It was with Ralph Abernathy that I initially met and interrogated James Earl Ray, and through the years the Reverend Jim Lawson has been a constant pillar of strength and support. Jim's integrity and capacity for love is unmatched in my experience. In his unswerving commitment to the legacy of Dr. King, the Reverend Hosea Williams has been a constant reminder to me of what this is all about. Whenever needed he has been there, occasionally in great physical pain. The Reverend James Orange is another who has gone out of his way to try to tell what he saw at the time of the killing.
The considerable previous research and investigative efforts particularly of Harold Weisberg as well as Mark Lane have provided an essential foundation for my own work.
More recently, the work of English television producer John Edginton and author Philip Melanson have kept some significant issues alive. English reporters Andrew Billen of the London Observer who broke a key aspect of the story and Oonagh Blackman of the London Sunday Express have demonstrated a degree of interest and independence rarely seen in the American press. Other researchers and authors whose work has occasionally overlapped with my own have been a welcome source of information and general encouragement. Among others are Anthony Summers, Jim Hougan, Colonel Fletcher Prouty USAF ret., James Bamford, Peter Dale Scott, Dan Moldea, Douglas Valentine and Dick Russell.
Home Box Office and Thames Television provided James with his only trial up to the present time. This effort (and my work generally) was greatly facilitated by the Tennessee Department of Corrections Deputy Director Mike Dutton who was previously warden of Riverbend Penitentiary where James is incarcerated, and Mary Dennis the Warden's assistant. Memphis attorney April Ferguson, who has had a long standing interest in the case, assisted as co-counsel.
Previous lawyers of James Earl Ray, Arthur Hanes Sr., his son Judge Art Hanes Jr., Jack Kershaw and Jim Lesar were gracious with their time and information.
I reserve a special note of thanks for former Memphis journalist Steve Tompkins, whose earlier work opened the door to the most sensitive, deeply hidden area of my investigation. For me Steve epitomizes the very best of a dying breed in America -- the investigative journalist who is only restricted in the pursuit of the truth by his conscience.
I am also indebted to and wish to acknowledge the contributions of a number of other serving and former military officers, intelligence and other government officials who must remain anonymous but without whose courage the full story could not have been told.
This book would not have been written in its present form without the herculean efforts of my assistant for the last nine years, Jean Hazel Obray. Her singleminded, unselfish dedication to the defense of James Earl Ray, the investigation of the case and the completion of the book has been matched by her creative contributions and insights into people and events. Where my performance has been lacking in any respect she has enhanced it and where it has been good she has pushed for excellence.
To her goes my heartfelt gratitude.