Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Letters reveal Ray theories on juries, racism: Attorney's estate includes assassin's correspondence

By Joe Edwards , Associated Press

NASHVILLE -- James Earl Ray doubted a jury would believe a defense proposal to blame the assassination of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on a conspiracy, according to letters he wrote to his lawyer as he tried to win a trial and withdraw his own guilty plea in the 1968 slaying.

The letters are among documents going up for auction this month from the estate of the late Jack Kershaw, a Nashville attorney who represented Ray in the mid-1970s.

Ray pleaded guilty in 1969 to killing the civil rights leader and was sentenced to 99 years in prison, but recanted the confession three days later. He died in prison in 1998.

In one letter, Ray responds to plans by one of his other attorneys to write a book alleging that white racists conspired with government agencies to kill King.

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