(Memphis) On this anniversary of his death, many are not only remembering Dr. Martin Luther King's life, but also reflecting on how he died.
All these years later, some still believe he was murdered as part of a conspiracy plotted by the Federal government.
King's own family believes that.
“It makes me very sad that the truth about this killing has never been made known,” said Dr. William Pepper, the attorney who represented the King family in a civil trial in 1999.
In the trial, a jury decided the person convicted of killing King didn't do it.
It’ something even King's son, Martin the Third, brought-up Wednesday night in a speech he gave in Memphis.
“I mean we did a civil suit here in Memphis and Shelby County and it showed that James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King,” said King. “I don't know why they keep saying that but I am not here to argue with the government.”
“There were 70 witnesses and over 30 days of testimony that laid out before a jury and it took a jury 59 minutes to exonerate James Earl Ray,” said Dr. Pepper.
Dr. Pepper says Ray was the government's scape goat, a convicted criminal easy to pin the blame on.
He says Ray was a mile away fixing a flat tire when MLK was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel. He says someone else pulled the trigger.
“He was a paid contract killer,” said Dr. Pepper. “Martin King was killed because he was going to bring a half a million people to Washington.”
Dr. Pepper says the government was afraid of what King's influence would bring.
The civil rights leader wanted the US to stop spending money on the Vietnam war.
Instead, he was killed.
Forty-five years later the King family still believes it was crime James Earl Ray did not do.
“I had to find my truth,” said King the Third. “Every family deserves to know how their loved one was killed.”