- A former FBI agent who impounded James
Earl Ray's car after the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. said
today he kept two slips of paper from the car that may bolster Ray's claim
of a conspiracy.
- Donald Wilson discussed the documents
today with Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard and later told reporters
he wants to give them directly to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
- Wilson, then an agent with the FBI office
in Atlanta, was one of two agents who impounded Ray's white Ford Mustang
at an Atlanta housing project April 10, 1968, six days after King was assassinated
- Wilson would not show copies of the papers
to reporters today.
- However, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
reported today that one of the papers he found is an itemized list of names,
locations and figures that appear to be dollar amounts. At the bottom,
the figure 450,000.00 is written along with a date and a word that appears
to be Raul.
- The other contains a telephone number
and the name Raul, the newspaper said. The newspaper did not give any of
the other names.
- Ray, who pleaded guilty in 1969 but then
recanted and has been seeking a trial ever since, has claimed he was set
up by a shadowy gunrunner he knew only as Raoul. No independent evidence
of Raoul's existence has ever been found.
- Wilson said today he came forward not
to help Ray but "on behalf of the King family, to secure hopefully
what will be answers to the questions they've been seeking for some 30
- He wouldn't say why he withheld the papers
or discuss them in any detail. He lives in the Chicago area and said he
has the original documents in a vault there.
- The Journal-Constitution said Wilson
did not pass the documents to his superiors in 1968 because he did not
believe they were conducting a serious investigation and did not trust
them. He said he decided last year to share them with King's relatives,
who are supporting Ray's efforts to win a trial.
- Wilson was accompanied to the courthouse
by William Pepper, an attorney trying to win a trial for Ray. Pepper said
he urged Wilson to come forward now because Ray is seriously ill from liver
disease and may not live much longer.
- Pepper said the evidence was shared with
Howard because it was recovered in Fulton County.
- Cartha DeLoach, who was assistant to
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in 1968, said he was not aware of Wilson's
- "I doubt very seriously that is
true," he told the newspaper from Hilton Head Island, S.C., where
- In an odd twist, the newspaper said,
the telephone number on one of the papers appeared to refer to Jack Ruby.
The number is next to a capital J inside a circle. A check of that telephone
number in a 1963 Dallas directory indicates it was listed to Ruby and the
Vegas Club, the Journal-Constitution said. Ruby was arrested in 1963 for
killing Lee Harvey Oswald.
- A poll taken this month found that just
10 percent of Americans -- and virtually no blacks--believe Ray acted alone.
- The CBS News telephone survey of 782
adults, released today, found 66 percent of whites and 94 percent of blacks
believe others were involved in the assassination. Only 11 percent of whites,
and 0 percent of blacks polled, said they believed Ray was solely responsible
for the killing.
- The poll was conducted March 1-2. It
has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.