Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pop History Moment: James Earl Ray Found Guilty

On this day in 1969 - his 41st birthday - James Earl Ray was sentenced to serve 99 years in prison by Judge Preston Battle in Memphis, Tennessee, after admitting to the murder of the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.; although he recanted his confession three days later, it was too late. On the advice of his attorney, Percy Foreman, Ray had copped a guilty plea to avoid a trial and therefore a possible death sentence; Ray later hinted that he was merely part of a conspiracy to kill King. He reasserted this claim before the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe manhunt to capture James Earl Ray had lasted two months, and come to an end at London's Heathrow Airport, where he was caught traveling with two false passports - one of them a Canadian one in the name of Ramon George Sneyd - in June 1968; having fled Memphis following the assassination, Ray spent a period of time in Montreal.

James Earl Ray would return to the headlines occasionally during the remainder of his life, most notably in June 1977, when he escaped from Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary; he was recaptured three days later. In latter years the King family would lobby for Ray's retrial and/or release - even maintaining that he was not King's killer - and while Ray may have been involved on some level in a conspiracy to kill King no further evidence to support this claim has emerged in the ensuing 40 years.

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1 comment:

Gary Revel said...

I thought you might find this of interest.

Answers to CNN/James Polk mistakes on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.



Gary Revel
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