The Case made against James Early Ray was Weak (Letter to the Belleville News-Democrat)
Belleville News-Democrat, 1/15/12
In his book "Martin Luther King: The Assassination," Harold Weisberg revealed that Robert Frazier, the chief FBI firearms expert, stated in an affidavit: "Because of distortion due to mutilation and insufficient marks of value, I could draw no conclusion as to whether or not the submitted bullet was fired from the submitted rifle."
Had James Earl Ray gone to trial, this above-referenced evidence should have created reasonable doubt regarding Ray's role as the lone assassin. As important as this testimony was, a more startling "smoking gun" exists and has largely been ignored by major media sources. Ray's original attorneys, Arthur Hanes Jr. and Arthur Hanes Sr., would have used this evidence as the cornerstone of their defense in Ray's murder trial.
This cornerstone evidence involved the eyewitness testimony of Guy Canipe. Sheriff's Department officer "Bud" Ghormly discovered the bundle containing Ray's alleged murder rifle in front of Canipe's shop two or three minutes after the shots were fired at 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968. Canipe confirmed that Ghormly's discovery was at least 10 minutes (possibly as much as 15 minutes) after the bundle was dropped at his front door. This means the bundle/rifle was dropped at least seven or eight minutes before the fatal shot was fired.
Percy Foreman, a known attorney for the Mob, suspiciously replaced the Haneses as Ray's attorney, the evening before Ray was to have gone to trial. Foreman convinced Ray to plead guilty, saying he would "fry" (in an electric chair), and Ray was denied a trial that clearly appeared would have exonerated him.