This Day in Black History: June 8, 1968

James Earl Ray was charged with the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted: 06/08/2012 07:00 AM EDT

On this day in 1968, James Earl Ray was arrested at a London, airport and charged with the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. Ray, who had been on the run since the civil rights leader was fatally shot outside his Memphis hotel on April 4, 1968, later plead guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Three days after sentencing, Ray tried to rescind his guilty plea, claiming he had been set up in part of a larger conspiracy group that wanted King dead; that appeal, along with dozens more he made over the next 29 years, was denied. At age 70, Ray died in prison in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 23, 1998. 

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(Photo: SHELBY COUNTY REGISTER OF DEEDS/Landov)

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