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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Conspiracy theories surrounding Martin Luther King’s murder topic of URI Forensic Science Seminar, April 3

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

Kingston, RI – March 30, 2009 – Conspiracy theories and trace evidence from the Martin Luther King assassination will be the topic of the University of Rhode Island’s Forensic Science Seminar Series, April 3.

Robert Hathaway, a criminalist and firearms expert with the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory, will present the seminar titled “Conspiracy Theories, Trace Evidence in the Martin Luther King Case.” The seminar will run from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Pastore Hall, room 124 on the Kingston campus. It is free and open to the public.

Hathaway is nationally known for his research and testimony in the re-examination of James Earl Ray’s rifle. His and URI’s involvement began in August of 1996 when William Pepper, Ray’s attorney, walked into the crime laboratory. Pepper, the author of Orders to Kill, the book about the case, asked Hathaway if he wanted to work on a high-profile case. However, Pepper withheld the names of those involved until he had finished talking. Hathaway first declined and provided Pepper with a list of other experts, but Pepper did not want anyone else. In the end, Hathaway agreed to take the case, with the condition that he be allowed to assemble a team of experts.

He worked as a Connecticut state trooper for 21 years, spending more than 17 of those years working in the Connecticut State Police Forensics Laboratory. He has experience training with the New York City Police Department and the FBI.

Hathaway, a 17-year employee of the State Crime Laboratory, has lectured to colleges and law enforcements agencies throughout the country and has been published in the Association of Firearms and Toolmark Examiner’s Journal.