[sixties-l] Area man says father shot MLK (fwd)

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Date: Mon Apr 08 2002 - 03:15:57 EDT

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    Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2002 09:22:34 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Area man says father shot MLK

    Area man says father shot MLK


    Thursday, April 4, 2002
    Sun staff writer

    Claiming he wanted to get a 34-year-old secret off his chest, an Alachua
    County man said Tuesday that his father was the triggerman in the April 4,
    1968, assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
    And, the Rev. Ronald Denton Wilson said, portions of the murder plot were
    hatched in Gainesville.
    "My dad told me James Earl Ray had nothing to do with the shooting other
    than to buy a rifle for them," said Wilson, a 61-year-old preacher and
    siding contractor who goes by "R.D."
    "My dad was the one who shot Dr. King," he said.
    He said his father, Henry Clay Wilson, died in 1990 at age 68 and is buried
    in Gainesville. His
    father's two co-conspirators, R.D. Wilson said, also are dead.
    Wilson, who lives near Keystone Heights, and several other family members
    and ministry associates gathered at the Gainesville Community Plaza to
    reveal what they said was the truth about the King assassination. Wilson
    and his sister, Velma Roark of Waldo, said their father told them many
    times over the years that he shot King.
    "My dad and (a co-conspirator) believed Dr. King was a communist and was
    trying to cause an uprising and would damage the country, and that's why
    they wanted King (dead)," said Wilson, pastor of a non-denominational
    church near Brooker. "It wasn't a racist thing at all. My dad said even if
    King was white, they would have done it because of the communist affiliation."
    He acknowledged his father belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and participated in
    the beatings of black people.
    He said his father also fired gunshots at houses in St. Augustine during
    King's visit there in 1963.
    In an hourlong recounting of the plot, Wilson gave many details he said he
    personally witnessed or was told by his father.
    "I saw the rifle in the trunk of the car behind Mac's Drive-In," he said,
    referring to the former restaurant on E. University Avenue where he said
    the assassination was plotted. "I counted the $100,000 they had raised."
    Wilson's information is intriguing enough to warrant further investigation,
    said Eric Hathaway, special agent with the Jacksonville office of the FBI.
    "It's a rock that needs to be overturned," he said. "There could be a
    record somewhere on these guys, but I honestly don't know if there is. But
    we are looking into it. I really have nothing more to say."
    Wilson said that after he learned King had been killed, he knew his father
    must have been involved based on his activities. Then when Ray was
    identified as the killer, Wilson said, he told his father, "Dad, I swear I
    thought you did it."
    He said his father replied, "James Earl Ray doesn't have enough sense to do
    anything like this. This was done by real Americans."
    Wilson said he felt compelled to come forth now "because I'm in the later
    years of my life and I wanted to get it off me. I'm in ministry, and I
    preach honesty, but I've been carrying this dark secret. I've asked God for
    forgiveness if I was involved to some degree, although all I did was attend
    some meetings."
    "Today's my day to get it off my chest," he said. "If people don't believe
    me, I can't help that."
    Bob Arndorfer can be reached at 374-5042 or bob.arndorfer@gainesvillesun.com.

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