Hampton Sides

  • Aired:  05/11/10
  •  | Views: 17,633

Hampton Sides talks about what motivated James Earl Ray to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr. (5:15)

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE AUTHOR OF A BOOK ABOUT TRACKING MARTIN LUTHER KING'S KILLER.

IF HE WANTS THE MOVE SOME BOOKS,

IT HAD BETTER BE A SEXY TEENAGE VAMPIRE.

PLEASE WELCOME HAMPTON SIDES.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

MR. SIDES, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

NOW, SIR, YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF THE NEW BOOK "HELL HOUND ON HIS TRAIL: THE STOCKING OF MARTIN

LUTHER KING, JR., AND THE INTERNATIONAL HUNT FOR HIS ASSASSIN." ALL RIGHT.

LET'S TALK JAMES EARL RAY.

DEBATE.

I'M AGAINST HIM.

GO.

LAUGHTER

>> WELL, IT WASN'T JUST JAMES EARL RAY.

HE HAD ALL THESE ALIASES.

>> Stephen: DID HE HAVE I.D.s FOR ALL THESE?

>> FOR MANY OF THEM HE DID.

HE WENT TO TORONTO AFTER HE BROKE OUT OF PRISON AND GOT A VARIETY OF THESE ALIASES WHICH

HE WORKED WITH.

>> Stephen: WHAT WAS HE IN PRISON FOR?

>> HE HAD BEEN IN PRISON FOR ARMED ROBBERY, ALL KINDS OF FRAUD AND ALL KINDS OF STUFF, A

WHOLE LIFE OF PETTY CRIMINALITY.

>> Stephen: SO THEY LET HIM OUT OF PRISON?

>> NEW YORK HE WAS NOT LET OUT.

HE WAS AN ESCAPE ARTIST.

HE ACTUALLY ESCAPED FROM TWO MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISONS DURING THE COURSE OF HIS CAREER.

HE WAS ON THE LAM FOR ABOUT A YEAR WHEN HE KILLED KING.

>> Stephen: WHY DID JAMES EARL RAY... WAS HE A PETTY THIEF?

>> WELL, ARMED ROBBERY...

>> Stephen: WAS HE AN INTERNATIONAL ASSASSIN IS WHAT I'M ASKING?

>> CERTAINLY HE WAS NOT THE KIND OF GUY AN F.B.I. OR C.I.A. OR THE MAFIA WOULD HIRE TO BE A

PROFESSIONAL HIT MAN.

>> Stephen: SO NO CONSPIRACY HERE.

>> NO CONSPIRACY.

>> Stephen: HE HAD TO HAVE PEOPLE HELPING HIM.

>> THE DEFINITION OF A CONSPIRACY IS TWO OR THREE PEOPLE HELPED HIM, A CRUDE

CONSPIRACY, A CONSPIRACY THAT CLEARLY WHEN YOU LOOK AT HIS TRACK RECORD AND LOOK AT WHAT HE

WAS DOING, HE WAS LIKE... HE ROBBED A BANK IN LONDON JUST SHORTLY BEFORE HE WAS CAUGHT.

IF HE WAS WELL-FUNDED BY A VERY WELL-OILED CONSPIRACY, HE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN EXPOSING

HIMSELF IN THIS WAY.

HE WAS DESPERATE FOR MONEY NEAR THE END.

>> Stephen: WHAT MOTIVATED HIM TO KILL KING?

>> WELL, HE WAS A RACIST.

HE WAS ALSO QUITE AMBITIOUS.

HE WAS ALSO THINKING HE MIGHT CONNECT WITH ONE OF THESE SEVERAL BOUNTIES THAT HAD BEEN

RAISED ON THE HEAD OF KING TO KILL HIM.

>> Stephen: THERE WAS A BOUNTY ON KING'S HEAD?

WHO WAS PUTTING THOSE THINGS OUT THERE?

>> THERE WERE RACISTS IN ST.

LOUIS HE WOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT.

THE KLAN HAD VARIOUS GROUPS OFFERING MONEY TO KILL KING.

THIS WAS OUT THERE.

I THINK RAY DEFINITELY KNEW ABOUT IT.

>> Stephen: SO ONE WITH THING WE FORGET IS AFTER JAMES EARL RAY KILLED MARTIN LUTHER KING,

HE WAS NOT CAUGHT RIGHT AWAY.

IT WASN'T LIKE AN OSWALD SITUATION WHERE HE WAS WALKING DOWN THE STREET AND THEY NABBED HIM.

WHAT HAPPENED?

>> WELL, IT WAS THE LARGEST MANHUNT IN AMERICAN HISTORY AT THE TIME.

IT WAS 65 DAYS IT TOOK TO CATCH HIM.

>> Stephen: HOLY COW.

>> IT WASN'T JUST THE F.B.I.

IT WAS ALSO SCOTLAND YARD.

>> Stephen: F.B.I. WAS HELPING.

I THOUGHT HOOVER HATED KING?

>> HE DID.

>> Stephen: WAS IT LIKE, I CAN PICK ON MY BROTHER, BUT YOU CAN'T SHOOT HIM?

>> EXACTLY LIKE THAT.

HE HATED KING AND HE DID EVERYTHING TO RUIN KING'S MOVEMENT, BUT WHEN THIS

ASSASSINATION HAPPENED, IT BECAME CLEARLY THAT THEY HAD TO FIND THE KILLER.

THERE WERE RIOTS IN 150 CITIES.

THESE FIELD AGENTS GO OUT ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, ALL OVER THE WORLD TRYING THE TRACK DOWN LEADS.

>> Stephen: WHAT WAS THE FEELING IN THE COUNTRY WHEN THIS GUY WAS ON THE LOOSE.

YOU KNOW HE'S KILLED KING.

HE'S UNDER MULTIPLE IDENTITIES.

I'M FAR TOO YOUNG TO HAVE A SENSE OF IT.

I KNOW THAT YOU'RE WAY, WAY OLDER THAN I AM.

[LAUGHTER]

YOU WERE SIX WHEN THIS HAPPENED.

>> I WAS SIX.

>> Stephen: DID YOU HAVE AN AWARENESS OF IT AT THE TIME BECAUSE YOU WERE FROM MEMPHIS.

>> I GREW UP IN MEMPHIS.

THIS IS THE BIGGEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO MY HOMETOWN.

>> Stephen: BIGGER THAN ELVIS?

>> ALMOST BIGGER THAN ELVIS IF THAT'S POSSIBLE.

I THINK IT WAS.

>> Stephen: ANOTHER KING.

>> EXACTLY.

I WANTED TO FIGURE OUT WHY THIS HAPPENED AND HOW THEY CAUGHT THIS GUY AND WHO THIS CREEP WAS

WHO WANDERED INTO MY HOMETOWN AND CHANGED HISTORY.

>> Stephen: HOW DID THEY FINALLY GET HIM?

>> WELL, I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE AWAY THE END OF THE BOOK, BUT...

>> Stephen: GIVE IT AWAY.

[LAUGHTER]

>> WHAT'S INTERESTING IS AT LONDON HEATHROW THEY GET HIM.

THEY SAY, YOU ARE JAMES EARL RAY.

HE SAYS, NO, I AM RAMON SNADE.

>> Stephen: RAMON SNADE?

HE JUST PICKED LETTERS OUT OF A SCRABBLE BOX.

HIS LAWYER SAY SAID, HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

HE SAID, CONTACT MY BROTHER.

THEY GOT ME MIXED UP WITH JAMES EARL RAY.

CONTACT MY BROTHER.

WHAT'S HIS NAME?

JERRY RAY.

>> Stephen: MASTER CRIMINAL HE IS NOT.

>> HAMPTON, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

HAMPTON SIDES.

THE BOOK IS ""HELLHOUND ON HIS TRAIL." THERE'S PLENTY MORE HE DID NOT

GIVE AWAY.

IT'S A BRILLIANT BOOK.

||||

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