Has there been a break in one of Seattle’s most historic unsolved murders? Word came this week of “recent activity” in the unsolved murder of Edwin Pratt, 38, head of the Seattle Urban League. He was shot to death by white assassins on the porch of his Shoreline home in 1969, a year after the death of Martin Luther King. The Pratt murder was particularly reminiscent of the 1963 racial shooting of NAACP leader Medgar Evers in his Mississippi driveway.
King County Sheriff’s investigators long ago indentified the gunmen but have refused to release any documents from the file. They said the case was an active investigation, thus not open to media scrutiny. Officials indicated they were still trying to identify a mysterious white man who paid the shooters.
The department today wouldn’t confirm or deny there had been a new development. But in a response to a recent records request - periodically made by Seattle Weekly - the department stated in a letter:
“There has been recent activity on this case, and we anticipate being able to release more information in the coming months.” In an interview today, Records Unit supervisor Ann Swartz said she didn’t know what the activity consisted of. “The major crimes unit told me there had been activity but didn’t say what.” It could, however, lead to closure of the case, Swartz said. “They said to check back in a couple months because they could be closing it out.”
Sheriff’s spokesperson Travis DeFries said that the case is nonetheless active today, thus neither he nor detectives would comment on any new developments.