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James Earl Ray

James Earl RayBorn: 10-Mar-1928
Birthplace: Alton, IL
Died: 23-Apr-1998
Location of death: Nashville, TN [1]
Cause of death: Kidney failure [2]
Remains: Cremated (ashes scattered)

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic [3]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Assassin

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Pled guilty in Martin Luther King's assassination

Military service: US Army (Jul-1946 to 23-Dec-1948)

Discharged from the military for "ineptness and lack of adaptability".

Pleaded guilty to assassinating black civil rights Martin Luther King on 4 April 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Recanted his confession three days after his conviction.

In 2000 a probe instigated by Attorney General Janet Reno concluded that there was no credible evidence to support Ray's conspiracy theory claim.

Said he didn't want to be buried or have his final resting place be in the United States, because of "the way the government has treated him".

"He couldn't have planned it alone. He wasn't smart enough for that." -- James Gerald Ray


[1] Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility, Nashville, TN.

[2] Kidney disease likely caused by hepatitis C contracted from a blood transfusion given after a stabbing at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.

[3] James Earl Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King?, page 18.

Father: James Gerald Ray
Mother: Lucille Maher ("Lucie")
Brother: Jerry Ray
Brother: Franklin Ray ("Frank", d. 1963 drowned)
Brother: John Larry Ray
Sister: Marjorie ("Margie", d. burns)
Sister: Carol
Wife: Anna Sandhu (courtroom artist, m. 13-Oct-1978, div. 1990)

    High School: (did not attend high school, dropped out in 8th grade)

    AWOL Nuremberg, Germany (Apr-1948)
    Resisting Arrest Nuremberg, Germany (Apr-1948)
    Drunk in Public Nuremberg, Germany (31-Oct-1948)
    Disorderly Conduct
    Burglary Los Angeles, CA (Dec-1949 to Mar-1950)
    Inmate: Los Angeles County Jail
    Vagrancy Cedar Rapids, IA (May-1950)
    Robbery Chicago, IL (6-May-1952)
    Inmate, Joliet Prison 1952
    Inmate, Pontiac Prison 1952 to 12-Mar-1954
    Burglary East Alton, IL (28-Oct-1954)
    Vagrancy Alton, IL (Nov-1954)
    Forgery postal money order (Mar-1955)
    Inmate: Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary
    Armed Robbery Kroger Supermarket, St. Louis, MO (10-Oct-1959)
    Psychiatric Observation Missouri State Hospital, Fulton, MO (8-Sep-1966 to 17-Oct-1966)
    Escaped from Prison Missouri State Penitentiary, Jefferson City, MO (23-Apr-1967)
    Rhinoplasty Los Angeles, CA (5-Mar-1968)
    Murder Memphis, TN (4-Apr-1968)
    Conspiracy
    FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives 20-Apr-1968 to 8-Jun-1968
    Carrying a Concealed Weapon loaded .38 pistol, Heathrow Airport, London (8-Jun-1968), charges dropped (18-Jul-1968)
    Forgery passport, Heathrow Airport, London (8-Jun-1968), charges dropped (18-Jul-1968)
    Extradited from England (19-Jul-1968)
    Polygraphed
    Hunger Strike 18-Apr-1974 to 22-Apr-1974
    Escaped from Prison 10-Jun-1977 (Brushy Mountain, recaptured 13-Jun)
    Stabbed 22 times, Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary (3-Jun-1981), 77 stitches
    Coma 26-Dec-1996
    Hernia Operation Feb-1998
    Coma 11-Mar-1998
    Autopsy
    Risk Factors: Hepatitis C

Author of books:
Who Killed Martin Luther King? The True Story by the Convicted Assassin (1993)



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