The Ray Case: Raising a Whirlwind

In the matter of the People v. James Earl Ray, the plea of guilty to murder in the first degree might have seemed an opportunity for the state of Tennessee to close forever its voluminous dossier on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Ray admitted that he was the rifleman who had felled King in Memphis with a single soft-nosed .30-'06-caliber bullet. Yet by allowing him to plead guilty and accept a prearranged sentence of 99 years, the prosecution closed the case without a trial. How ever convenient that settlement may have been to both sides, it immediately...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!