On today's date, June 8 in 1968, James Earl Ray, was arrested in London, England, and charged with the assassination of African American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. On April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Dr. King was killed by a gunshot from a sniper while he stood on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Later that evening, investigators found a Remington .30-06 hunting rifle one block from the Lorraine on a sidewalk by a rooming house near the Motel. Over subsequent weeks, the weapon, fingerprints found on it, as well as eyewitness accounts all combined to point a guilty finger one James Earl Ray (above), a small-time criminal who had escaped from a prison in Missouri wherein he was serving a sentence for a holdup, and from which he had escaped in April of 1967. Ray had been able to escape the massive manhunt that had been seeking him by using a false ID to acquire a Canadian passport which was fairly easy to do at that time.
Ray - the Likely Suspect
Since his escape from prison in Missouri, Ray had moved around the south and southwest of the U.S.,
Ray Recants Confession, Later Attempts to Escape.
It took Ray a mere three days to recant his confession. He claimed that he had been set up as a "patsy" in a larger conspiracy Allegedly a shadowy character named "Raoul" had gotten him involved in a gun-running scheme. But by April 4 he realized that he was the intended fall-guy for the King murder, and that this had been why he had fled to Canada and from there on to London.