Examiners say tests of Ray's gun 'inconclusive'August 1, 1997
Web posted at: 7:52 p.m. EDT (2352 GMT)
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN) -- Tests on the rifle believed to have been used to kill Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were "inconclusive" in determining if it was the murder weapon, according to a firearms examiners' report
The findings were presented Friday to Criminal Court Judge Joe Brown, who will decide if and how new test firings on the .30-06 hunting rifle will be conducted.
James Earl Ray, who was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to King's 1968 assassination, recanted his confession soon after he made it and wants a trial. His lawyers say the rifle tests could support his contention.
The examiners said the evidence was inconclusive, as were previous tests by the FBI and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. They added, however, that "appropriate cleaning" and another test firing of the rifle could produce bullets with markings that are suitable for comparison.
Tennessee Assistant Deputy Attorney General John Campbell said the report shows there is no need for more testing of the rifle. "We're wasting time and resources," he told CNN.
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