Ray, James Earl

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Ray, James Earl Gender: M
born on 10 March 1928 at 15:00 (= 3:00 PM )
Place Alton, Illinois, 38n53, 90w11
Timezone CST h6w (is standard time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 20°03' s_mo.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 09°09 Asc.s_leocol.18.gif 14°27'

Portrait of James Earl Ray 
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James Earl Ray
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American assassin who shot Dr. Martin Luther King to death. He had a long criminal record and had previously served prison terms. During an attempted robbery on 6 May 1952, he was shot in the arm, captured and given two years prison. Ray was captured again during a robbery in March 1955; he was given 45 months in Leavenworth. On 21 April 1959, Ray was sentenced to 20 years in the State Penitentiary; he escaped on 23 April 1967.

Ray was born into an extremely poor family with an extensive history of run-ins with the law. He grew up in rough and tumble river towns along the Illinois and Missouri, which doubled as spawning grounds for the KKK. His father abandoned the family when Ray was young, his mother, an alcoholic, eventually had all of her eight children removed to foster care. One positive relationship grew out of Ray's chaotic childhood, the bond between he and his brothers, Jerry and John. They grew very close through their horrible childhoods and trusted and relied on one another.

At the age of 17, Ray joined the Army, becoming infatuated with Adolf Hitler through the influence of a close German friend. He asked to be stationed in Germany, but instead was discharged. As the years progressed, Ray was convicted of increasingly severe crimes. A racist, Ray refused to work with blacks on a prison honor farm. After his 27 April 1967 escape from prison, he headed for a Chicago suburb, where he worked as a dishwasher; he was only ten miles away from where his brother Jerry worked. About three weeks later, Ray began calling Jerry and they began meeting. They both came in contact with John shortly thereafter. All three brothers met in Chicago's decaying Atlantic Hotel sometime near the end of May; they discussed ways to earn money, including kidnapping the governor of Illinois or a local star radio host. The brothers also flirted with the idea of going into the porn business. Ray shocked his brothers when he told them that he was, "going to kill that n----- King. That's something that's been on my mind. That's something I've been working on."

He left his dishwashing job in late June. Ray fled for Canada in July after a bank robbery in Alton, IL that, most likely, the brothers pulled off. He returned to the U.S. the next month, going first to see his brother Jerry. In October, about two months later, Ray set off for Mexico, residing in the then back-water town of Puerto Vallarta. Quickly tiring of Vallarta, he once again returned to the United States, only this time to Los Angeles. While in L.A., Ray had plastic surgery to correct a prominent nose. Not surprisingly, he left L.A. about five months later, on 17 March 1968, for Atlanta. While passing through Birmingham, Alabama, Ray purchased a Remington .30-06 pump action rifle and scope under an assumed name.

He made it into Memphis, Tennessee on 3 April 1968, the exact same day that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pulled into town. Newspaper publicity revealed the hotel at which King was staying, the Lorraine, as well as the room number. The next day, Ray reconnoitered the hotel from a rundown rooming house across the street. When King stepped outside the door to his room, Ray fired the single shot that killed him at 6:01 PM. After the shooting, he panicked at seeing two police cars parked in a nearby fire station. Ray threw the murder weapon, which was wrapped in a bundle, against a store front. The quick discovery by police of the rifle was the critical piece of evidence that helped police identify Ray as the shooter. An accustomed international traveler, Ray was able to flee to Canada for 65 days without being apprehended. His ultimate goal in fleeing was to make it to segregationist Rhodesia, but he never made it. After visiting Portugal, Ray discovered that he did not have the time or money to reach white Africa. He returned to England, but ran low on money, which caused him to rob a bank in early June. On 8 June 1968, just as Ray was about to board a plane for Brussels, he was arrested at Heathrow International Airport in London, England.

Ray pled guilty to the slaying of Dr. King a year later and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He recanted a few days after his original confession, claiming that a Latin by the name of Raoul had directed him to kill King, and professed his innocence from that day forward. Gaunt, frail and dying of liver disease, he met with Dexter King on 27 March 1997 and said, "No I did not kill your father," to which Dexter King replied, "I believe you."

Ray died on 23 April 1998 in a Nashville, Tennessee hospital, where he had been treated repeatedly for kidney and liver failure since 1996. His original confession still stood, and the most exhaustive investigation of the case ever conducted-by a congressional committee-remained basically uncontested.

Link to Wikipedia biography



  • Financial Crime Perpetration 6 May 1952 (Attempted robbery)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Crime : Trial dates 21 April 1959 (Sentenced to 20 years)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Deinstitutionalized - prison, hospital 23 April 1967 (Escaped from prison)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Crime : Trial dates 1968 (Pled guilty to killing of MLK Jr.)
  • Crime : Homicide Perpetration 4 April 1968 at 06:01 AM in Memphis, TN (Assassinated MLK Jr.)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Meet a significant person 27 March 1997 (Dexter King, MLK Jr.'s son)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death by Disease 23 April 1998 (Kidney and liver failure, age 70)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Penny Bertucelli quotes B.C. in MH, 7/1978; Der Spiegel Nr.29/1997 page 113:it is not sure, if Ray was the murderer, because Martin Luther King hadn't died by Ray's hunting rifle. in 1997 there were new researches of the FBI.(mik.)


  • Traits : Personality : Bigot (Racist)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Liver/Pancreas/Spleen (Failure, terminal)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Kidney (Failure, terminal)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Cosmetic surgery (To correct large nose)
  • Family : Childhood : Abuse - Neglect (Mom alcoholic, removed from house)
  • Family : Childhood : Disadvantaged (Extremely poor)
  • Family : Childhood : Family large (Nine)
  • Family : Childhood : Parent, Single or Step (Dad abandoned family)
  • Family : Childhood : Sibling circumstances (Very close to two brothers)
  • Family : Relationship : Married late/never (Never)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids none
  • Lifestyle : Home : Many moves (Nomadic)
  • Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Homicide single (Assassinated MLK Jr.)
  • Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Prison sentence (For robberies and murder)
  • Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Thief/ Financial crime (Robbery)
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Kidney/liver failure)
  • Vocation : Military : Military service (U.S. Army)
  • Vocation : Misc. : Cleaning service (Dishwasher)
  • Notable : Famous : Criminal cases (Assassin of Martin Luther King)
  • Notable : Book Collection : American Book