James Earl Ray

American assassin of Martin Luther King Jr.

James Earl Ray (March 10, 1928 – April 23, 1998) was the man who was convicted of murdering Martin Luther King, Jr on April 4, 1968. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison.[1] At first he said that he had shot King, but he later said that he did not do it. There are multiple conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination.

James Earl Ray
James Earl Ray.jpg
Mug shot of Ray taken in 1955
Born(1928-03-10)March 10, 1928
DiedApril 23, 1998(1998-04-23) (aged 70)
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Spouse(s)Anna Sandhu (divorced)
Parent(s)James Gerald Ray
Conviction(s)Murder, prison escape
armed robbery, burglary
Criminal penalty99 years imprisonment (one year was added after his re-capture for a total of 100 years)

Early lifeEdit

He was born in Alton, Illinois. He was convicted of burglary, robbery, theft and forgery during the 1950s.

He escaped from prison in 1967.[2]


He died in Nashville, Tennessee from liver failure caused by hepatitis C.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "CNN - James Earl Ray, convicted King assassin, dies - April 23, 1998". edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  2. Crime Library