Days before the trip, Ray had purchased a rifle in addition to a scope and a box of ammunition for the gun. On April 2, , he had gathered the gun and a few belongings from his rooming house in Atlanta and set out on the trip to Tennessee. The day after he arrived in Memphis, Ray, a small-time thief, would stand in a bathtub at a flophouse across the street from the Lorraine Hotel and fire one shot at civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. In the years that followed, other conspiracy theories would be floated by Ray. None were ever proven. Who was Ray and is there any question that he killed King? Ray was born in in Alton, Illinois, a city about 15 miles north of St. When Ray was 2, the family moved to Bowling Green, Missouri. When he was 6, his family moved to Ewing, Missouri after his father passed a bad check in Alton.
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He had Irish , Scottish and Welsh ancestry and had a Catholic upbringing. In February , Ray's father, known by the nickname Speedy, passed a bad check in Alton, Illinois, and then moved to Ewing, Missouri , where the family changed their name to Raynes to avoid law enforcement. His sister Marjorie died in a fire as a young child. He later joined the U. Ray struggled to adapt to military life and was eventually discharged for ineptitude and lack of adaptability in Ray committed a variety of crimes prior to the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ray's first conviction for criminal activity, a burglary in California, came in In , he served two years for the armed robbery of a taxi driver in Illinois. In , Ray was convicted of mail fraud after stealing money orders in Hannibal, Missouri , then forging them to take a trip to Florida.
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All rights reserved About Us. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. Ad Choices. By Deb Kiner dkiner pennlive. Coretta Scott King, and her four children view the body of her husband, slain civil rights activist leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The civil rights leader was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel when he was killed by a rifle bullet on April 4,
Ray had been a small-time crook, a robber of gas stations and stores, who had served time in prison, once in Illinois and twice in Missouri , and received a suspended sentence in Los Angeles. He escaped from the Missouri State Penitentiary on April 23, ; and in Memphis , Tennessee , nearly a year later, on April 4, , from a window of a neighbouring rooming house, he shot King , who was standing on the balcony of a motel room. Ray fled to Toronto , secured a Canadian passport through a travel agency, flew to London May 5 , then to Lisbon May 7? On June 8 he was apprehended by London police at Heathrow Airport as he was about to embark for Brussels ; the FBI had established him as the prime suspect almost immediately after the assassination.