This weekend, the world will commemorate the April 4, 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Almost five decades after the murder, so much speculation still remains as to who is responsible. Although James Earl Ray initially copped a plea, three days later he unsuccessfully attempted to recant and demand a trial.

In 1999, Loyd Jowers “and others, including governmental agencies” were tried before a Shelby County, Tenn. Thirtieth Judicial District Circuit Court, on the charge of conspiring to kill King. Jowers had been a Memphis police officer in the 1940s and owned Jim’s Grill, a local restaurant. Just above it was a rooming house from where Ray was alleged to have shot King.

Dec. 8, 1999, after more than 70 witnesses and four weeks of testimonies, in a civil trial (Coretta Scott King v. Loyd Towers), a Memphis jury reached a quick guilty verdict in the wrongful death of the civil rights leader, concluding that Jowers and others conspired to assassinate him on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel April 4, 1968.

“There is abundant evidence of a major high-level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King Jr.,” commented King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, during a press conference in Atlanta the following day. “And the civil court’s unanimous verdict has validated our belief. I wholeheartedly applaud the verdict of the jury, and I feel that justice has been well served in their deliberations. This verdict is not only a great victory for my family but also a great victory for America … for truth itself. It is important to know that this was a swift verdict, delivered after about an hour.”

During the case, the conspiracy was revealed to involve several clandestine powers, and Ray was suggested not be the triggerman, but, in fact, an unknowing scapegoat.

“The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies, were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband,” said Coretta Scott King. “The jury also affirmed overwhelming evidence that identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter, and that Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame.”

Jowars claimed that the shot that killed King came from behind his restaurant and named Memphis cop Lt. Earl Clark as the actual assassin. He further maintained that Ray was not the killer, and he didn’t believe Ray knowingly participated.

What also came to light was that police protection was pulled just before the assassination, and the morning after, Memphis police cleared bushes at the site where multiple witnesses said the shot came from. Additionally, police failed to interview witnesses who lived nearby.

“It has been a difficult and painful experience to revisit this tragedy, but we felt we had an obligation to do everything in our power to seek the truth,” Coretta Scott King said. “Not only for the peace of mind of our family but to also bring closure and healing to the nation. Our sole concern has been that the full truth of the assassination has been revealed and adjudicated in a court of law.”

Her son Dexter added, “We can say that because of the evidence and information obtained in Memphis, we believe that this case is over. This is a period in the chapter.”

Coretta Scott King concluded, “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience.”