“Ray’s death doesn’t change the King family’s belief in a wider conspiracy around Dr. King’s assassination,” says TIME Atlanta bureau chief Sylvester Monroe. “They will continue to pursue their conviction that even if Ray was the killer, he didn’t act alone.” It has, however, deprived them of their most important witness.
James Earl Ray will face his final judgment without ever getting his day in court. Ray, 70, died this morning of complications arising from cirrhosis of the liver, proclaiming to the end his innocence in the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The King family was Ray’s most powerful ally in his quest to reopen the case -- only last week Coretta Scott King and Dexter King met with Attorney General Janet Reno to press for a review of the evidence.