Bob Marley died of cancer in May 1981, but a conspiracy theory claims a CIA Agent confessed to killing the singer.
Retired CIA Agent Bill Oxley reportedly confessed on his deathbed to killing Marley, according to a report by YourNewsWire. A YouTube video posted by YouTuber Willie D explains the conspiracy theory, using Oxley’s alleged own words to break down the situation.
According to the video, Oxley claims to have committed 17 assassinations on behalf of the U.S. government between March 1974 and August 1985 as a member of a three-person team of assassins. Willie D explains that the operatives often targeted “political activists, journalists, and union leaders” as well as “scientists, medical researchers, artists, and musicians whose ideas and influence represented a threat to the interest of the United States.”
Oxley explained why Marley was one of these targets in a statement, which was read by Willie D in his video. "Bob Marley was also placing the goals of the CIA in jeopardy and threatening the existence of the United States,” Oxley’s statement reportedly read. “He was succeeding in creating a revolution that used music as a more powerful tool than bullets and bombs.”
“As far as the agency was concerned, Bob Marley was too successful, too famous, too influential,” Oxley continued. “A Jamaican Rastaman who started using his funds and fame to support causes around the world that were in direct conflict with the CIA.”
Oxley’s statement, as read by Willie D, went on to explain how Marley “signed his own death warrant” by refusing to heed the “message” the CIA was sending to him. As Oxley stated, “[The CIA] sent a few guys to shoot up his house in Kingston,” which Willie D explains left Marley injured in his chest and arm.
“We had a message for him. We impressed upon him the gravity of the situation he found himself in. He didn’t listen,” Oxley added. “Two days later in the mountains, I stuck him with the pin.”
After the shooting in Kingston, Willie D explains that Marley moved to the Blue Mountains in Jamaica to practice for an upcoming concert. It is there that Oxley “used press credentials to gain access to Bob Marley,” “introduced himself as a famous photographer for The New York Times,” and “presented Bob Marley with a gift” of Converse shoes, according to Willie D.
“When he tried on the right shoe, he screamed out ‘ouch,’” Oxley continued in his statement, explaining how the gift was instrumental in the assassination plan. “That was it. His life was over right then and there. The nail in the shoe was tainted with cancer viruses and bacteria. If it pierced the skin–which it did–it was good night nurse.”
According to Willie D, “[Oxley] claims he kept in close contact with Bob Marley during the later years of his life, ensuring that the medical advice that he received […] would hasten his demise, rather than cure him.”
He then read more of Oxley’s statement, explaining how Marley changed over the next few years. “The last time I saw Bob before he died, he had removed the dreadlocks, and his weight was dropping like a stone,” said Oxley’s statement. “He was very withdrawn, unbelievably small. He was shrinking in front of us. The cancer had done its job.”
Oxley’s statement concluded with a discussion of how his role in Marley’s death affected him. “The day he died in Miami was definitely one of the most difficult moments in my career,” Oxley said. “I felt [really] bad. For a long time, I wasn’t comfortable with my part in his death. But eventually, I came to realize it had to be done for America.”
At the end of his video, Willie D shared his reaction to the theory, believing it is “very plausible” that the theory is true.
“I believe something like this could happen. It happens all the time,” Willie D said. “Many of the dudes that I know from the streets who got killed got killed by dudes who was from the streets who they grew up with […] so, this is not really far-fetched.”
“And we know that there’s evidence. There’s documented proof that America has killed, has executed […] many people for political reasons,” he continued.
Ultimately, Willie D said that, though he would need more evidence to truly believe the theory, he wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up being true. “I won’t take this all the way to the bank without additional proof [or] sources to back it up,” he concluded. “But given America’s propensity for violence […] I can’t rule it out.”
Meanwhile, fact-checking website Snopes has determined that the theory is false, even questioning the validity of Oxley’s statement itself. “Whether or not there was anything more to Bob Marley’s death than natural causes — and there is no solid evidence to the contrary — we can say with certainty that a CIA agent named “Bill Oxley” did not confess while on his deathbed in Maine to assassinating the singer," the site writes.
What's more, according to Snopes, there's "no record of a Bill or William Oxley having any association with the CIA," making the theory unlikely.