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On April 4, 1968, within minutes after the shooting of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a lo al poli e offi er !is o"ere! a #emington $%&%6 rifle, se"eral unuse! 'ullets, an! other effe ts that 'elonge! to James (arl #a), wrappe! insi!e a 'lan*et, outsi!e +anipe,s Amusement store. -he owner of the store re alle! someone !ropping the pa *age at his !oor before the time of the assassination. Despite this e"i!en e, it woul! 'e months 'efore the ./0 an! poli e agen ies 'egan loo*ing for es ape! on"i t James (arl #a) as the allege! assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was shot, stan!ing outsi!e his room on the se on! floor 'al on) of the Lorraine Motel. -here was mu h e)ewitness e"i!en e, at the time of the shooting, to suggest that the fatal shot that stru * him !i! not ome from the !ire tion of a near') rooming house 'athroom win!ow, near a room allege!l) rente! ') #a). /ut perhaps the most telling e"i!en e was the 'ullet fragment remo"e! from the spine of Dr. King !uring a "er) in omplete autops) pro ee!ing !one ') .r. .ran es a. -he ./0 teste! this 'ullet fragment, along with the allege! mur!er weapon, in 1968, as !i! the 1ouse 2ele t +ommittee on Assassinations in 1936, with the same result. -he fatal 'ullet oul! not 'e on lusi"el) lin*e! to the #emington $%&%6 rifle pur hase! ') James (arl #a). -he ./0 tol! man) in re!ulous an! onfli ting stories a'out their 'allisti s wor* in this ase. -he) laime! that the rifle was not teste! on retrie"al to see if it ha! 'een fire! that !a), a simple an! stan!ar! pro e!ure, the omission of whi h strains re!ulit). More li*el), 4ust su h a test was !one5 an! the rifle was foun! not to ha"e 'een fire!. 0n a!!ition, the 'ullet fragment was laime! to 'e so !amage! that ali'er, mar*ings an! groo"es nee!e! for omparison were una'le to 'e seen learl). Dr. .ran es a later onteste! this !es ription. -he ./0 fin!ing, that the 'ullet was 6 onsistent6 with ha"ing 'een fire! from the gun, means onl) that the ali'er of the 'ullet was not too large to fit in the 'arrel of the rifle. -he 1ouse 2ele t +ommittee #eport was e"en less e7ui"o al on the matter, laiming that it was impossi'le to on lusi"el) lin* the 'ullet to the mur!er weapon, or to rule it out. 2imilarl), the) reporte! that the !ire tion an! angle of the shot an! woun!s oul! not 'e state! on lusi"el). -heir onl) firm on lusion was that #a) ha! 'een the assassin of Dr. King. -heir tests were similarl) in on lusi"e, an! ha! #a) ha! an a tual trial with 'allisti s e"i!en e presente!, the 4ur) shoul! ha"e 'een instru te! that the rifle oul! not 'e lin*e! to the fatal 'ullet, an! that this was not suffi ient e"i!en e of guilt 'e)on! a reasona'le !ou't. #a) was pressure! into a plea 'argain, in lu!ing a guilt) plea. .ollowing on"i tion, he imme!iatel) 'egan a series of legal appeals that laste! until the time of his !eath in prison, from untreate! health pro'lems, in 1999. 0n his final legal re"iew, allowe! ') new state laws in -ennessee, #a) was represente! ') Dr. 8illiam 9epper, (s7., 'efore ele te! Memphis Ju!ge Joe /rown. /rown was himself an e:pert on weapons an! 'allisti s, an! after re"iewing the e"i!en e, he or!ere! new tests on the allege! mur!er rifle.
-he tests showe! a pe uliar heat mar* on the 'ullets fire!, whi h !i! not mat h mar*ings on the 'ullet fragment, 'ut whi h oul! ha"e 'een !ue to !eposits in the 'arrel o"er time. 0n or!er to omplete the tests, Ju!ge /rown re7ueste! opies of the earlier ./0 an! 12+A testing results, an! the 2tate 2upreme +ourt in -ennessee steppe! in an! !enie! him a ess on the groun!s that it went 'e)on! the parameters of the ase on appeal. Ju!ge /rown ontinue! to press for further testing, sin e it was in omplete. At one point, the rifle was nearl) remo"e! ph)si all) from the ourthouse, an! onl) preser"e! ') inter"ention of the 'ailiff. An! then, Ju!ge /rown was remo"e! from the ase ') or!er of the 2tate 2upreme +ourt. James (arl #a) !ie! 'efore a new 4u!ge was assigne!, an! the ase 'e ame moot. -he rifle remaine! in usto!) of the 2hel') +ount) +ourts in Memphis. James (arl #a),s 'rother, Jerr) #a), 'rought suit for repossession of the rifle at that point, an! has 'een repeate!l) !enie! on the groun!s that it was 6a'an!one!6. 0n -ennessee, a'an!onment of propert) is !efine! as 6the "oluntar) relin7uishment thereof ') its owner with the intention of terminating his ownership, possession an! ontrol. ;W.R. Grace & Co. v. Taylor, 55 Tenn.App. 2227, 398 S.W.2d 81 19!5"<. 0t might 'e instru ti"e to re all that the allege! mur!er rifle in the assassination of 9resi!ent Kenne!), a Mannli her&+ar ano that suppose!l) 'elonge! to Lee 1ar"e) Oswal!, was no less 6a'an!one!6 =or no less pla e!>? than #a),s rifle, an! was returne! to his wi!ow, Marina, an! then !onate! to the @ational Ar hi"es. Ju!ge /rown ontinue! in his efforts to ha"e the rifle se ure! an! teste!, to no a"ail. At some point, the @ational +i"il #ights Museum, whi h now o upies the ol! Lorraine Motel 'uil!ing, petitione! the 2hel') +ount) +ourts for the rifle to 'e !onate! for histori al e:hi'it at the Museum. -he +ourts agree! to transfer it to their ontrol some time in A%%1. Ju!ge /rown in rease! his efforts to test the rifle 'efore the hain of usto!) was 'ro*en, negotiating with 'oth the Museum an! the +ount) +ourts. 8ithout noti e, the rifle was re entl) transferre!, along with man) other pie es of ph)si al e"i!en e in the ase, to the +i"il #ights Museum. 0t is riti al to get the rifle teste! 'efore further han!ling hanges its e"i!entiar) "alue, an! to !etermine, on e an! for all, whether or not this rifle was in fa t use! to *ill Dr. King. 0f not, whi h Ju!ge /rown an! man) others suspe t is the ase, then it will reopen the unresol"e! 7uestion of who in fa t !i! *ill Dr. King. A re ent i"il suit 'rought ') the King famil) le! to a 4ur) "er!i t that #a) !i! not shoot Dr. King, an! that a onspira ) that went to the top le"els of B.2. intelligen e an! militar) agen ies was ultimatel) responsi'le for his !eath. Ju!ge /rown an pro"i!e the ne essar) 'on!ing an! fun!ing to omplete these riti al tests if the +i"il #ights Museum will release the rifle to him for su h purpose. /e"erl) #o'ertson, the Museum Dire tor has 'een relu tant to !o so, stating that she !oes not see a nee! for su h tests. 6Let people !e i!e for themsel"es,6 she tol! one resear her who alle! to on"in e her. Dr. +)ril 8e ht, former presi!ent of the Ameri an A a!em) of .orensi 2 ien es, Ju!ge Joe /rown, resear her an! author 9hilip Melanson, 9h.D., an! Dr. 8illiam 9epper are all agree! on the importan e of testing the rifle at this riti al 4un ture, an! ha"e onta te! the Museum to en ourage their ooperation. Ju!ge /rown is as*ing other on erne! resear hers an! itiCens to !o the same. 9lease all or fa: the +i"il #ights Museum at the num'ers liste! 'elow to !eman! that the)D 1. 9reser"e the rifle in its urrent on!ition with a minimum of han!ling or e:posure.
A. Allow appropriatel) !esignate! in!i"i!uals to retrie"e the rifle on 'ehalf of Ju!ge Joe /rown. $. Agree to allow all ne essar) further testing of the rifle suggeste! ') Ju!ge /rown. 4. 9roperl) refle t the allege! status of the rifle an! the gunman in their e:hi'its on the ase, an! the out ome of the testing !one ') Ju!ge /rown, an! the re ent i"il suit 'efore Ju!ge 2wearington. E. +onsi!er an e:hi'it !one in onsultation with long time resear hers an! writers who ha"e wor*e! to e:pose the real assassins of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 6. Join those see*ing the histori al truth a'out this mur!er in alling for a full release of all go"ernment !o uments from the files of the 12+A an! all other go"ernment agen ies an! repositories in -ennessee an! at the fe!eral le"el, that relate! to the sur"eillan e, o'stru tion, an! mur!er of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. an! the i"il rights mo"ements he was part of. @ational +i"il #ights Museum /e"erl) #o'ertson, Dire tor && =9%1? EA1&9699, e:t. A8 /ar'ara An!rews, +urator && =9%1? EA1&9699, e:t. A$ Or .a: && =9%1? EA1&934% Or (&mail from 6.ee!'a *6 at their we'siteD http://220.127.116.11/civilrights/, or to 'an!rewsF i"ilrightsmuseum.org -han*s for )our assistan e in this ru ial matter. 0 hope )ou will 'e a'le to 4oin mem'ers of the +oalition on 9oliti al Assassinations for a regional meeting in Dallas from @o"em'er A%& AA, A%%% at the 9aramount 1otel. Ju!ge Joe /rown, Di * Gregor), 9hilip Melanson, John Ju!ge, /ill Kell), -. +arter an! others will 'e atten!ing an! spea*ing on the assassinations of Dr. King an! John .. Kenne!), an! a moment of silen e will 'e o'ser"e! on the Grass) Knoll at Deale) 9laCa at 1AD$% on @o"em'er AA. -here is no fee for the meeting. John Ju!ge, for +oalition on 9oliti al Assassinations an! the truth.
2our eD httpDHHwww.rati al.orgHrat"illeHJ.KHJohnJu!geHMLKrifle.html
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