James Earl Ray, a fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary, was arrested on June 8, 1968, in London at Heathrow Airport, extradited to the United States, and charged with the crime. On March 10, 1969, Ray entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. Ray later made many attempts to withdraw his guilty plea and be tried by a jury, but was unsuccessful; he died in prison on April 23, 1998, at the age of 70.
The King family and others believe that the assassination was carried out by a conspiracy involving the U.S. government, as alleged by Loyd Jowers in 1993, and that Ray was a scapegoat. In 1999 the King family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jowers for the sum of $10,000,000. During closing arguments, the King's attorney asked the jury to award damages of $100.00, to make the point that "it was not about the money." During the trial both the family and Jowers presented evidence alleging a government conspiracy. The government agencies accused could not defend themselves or respond because they were not named as defendants. Based on the evidence, the jury concluded that Jowers and "others were part of a conspiracy to kill King." and awarded $100.00. The allegations and the finding of the Memphis jury were later rejected by the United States Department of Justice in 2000 due to lack of evidence.
Per will tackle the book The Plot to Kill King: The Truth Beind the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. by William Pepper. Pepper was James Earl Ray’s lawyer in the trial for the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., and even after Ray’s conviction and death, Pepper continues to adamantly argue Ray’s innocence. This myth-shattering expose is a revised, updated, and heavily expanded volume of Pepper’s original best-selling and critically-acclaimed book of the same name, with twenty-six years of additional research included. The result reveals dramatic new details of the night of the murder, the trial, and why Ray was chosen to take the fall for an evil conspiracy—a government-sanctioned assassination of our nation’s greatest leader.