James Earl Ray
James Earl Ray
March 10, 1928|
Alton, Illinois, United States
April 23, 1998 (Age 70)|
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
|Parents||James Gerald Ray Lucille Ray|
• prison escape
|Supposed perpetrator of||MLK/Assassination|
Charged by the US government for the killing of Martin Luther King. He died in jail having never had a trial.
Ray was a "lone nut" assassin of Martin Luther King. After the assassination on April 4, 1968, he fled north to Toronto, Ontario, where he hid out for a month and acquired a Canadian passport under the false name of Ramon George Sneyd. He was captured at Heathrow Airport, London on June 8, 1968. On March 10, 1969, he entered a guilty plea, after advice from his lawyer, Bernard Fensterwald, to avoid a jury trial and accompanying risk of a death sentence. Three days later, he had changed his mind, but was not permitted to change his plea. He spent the rest of his life in incarceration, unsuccessfully seeking a trial.
The US government never had to present evidence of his guilt, since no trial was held.
In 1993, Loyd Jowers, owner of a restaurant (Jim's Grill) near the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where King was assassinated, confessed on live TV to involvement in the assassination of Martin Luther King. He stated that there was a conspiracy to kill King, and that James Earl Ray was a patsy not involved in the assassination. In 1998, the family of Martin Luther King filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jowers and "other unknown co-conspirators" for the murder of King. A unanimous decision on December 8, 1999 by a Memphis jury found Jowers and other "governmental agencies" had plotted to kill King. Only a single reporter was sent from the US commercially-controlled media (Memphis TV reporter, Wendell Stacy).
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