Conspiracy Theories Haunt the Assassination of MLK 55 Years After His Death

History Unplugged Podcast

Conspiracy Theories Haunt the Assassination of MLK 55 Years After His Death

Doubts about James Earl Ray, Dr. Martin Luther King’s lone assassin, arose almost immediately after the civil rights leader was fatally shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. From the start, his aides voiced suspicions that a conspiracy was responsible for their leader’s death. Over time many Americans became convinced the government investigations covered up the truth about the alleged assassin. Exactly what led Ray to kill King continues to be a source of debate, as does his role in the murder.

However, today’s guest, Mel Ayton, believe the answers to the many intriguing questions about Ray and how conspiracy ideas flourished can now be fully understood. Missing from the wild speculations over the past fifty-two years has been a thorough investigation of the character of King’s assassin. Additionally, the author examines exactly how the conspiracy notions came about and the falsehoods that led to their promulgation.

Mel is the author of The Man Who Killed Martin Luther King, the first full account of the life of James Earl Ray based on scores of interviews provided to government and non-government investigators and from the FBI’s and Scotland Yard’s files, plus the recently released Tennessee Department of Corrections prison record on Ray.

In the short-lived freedom he acquired after escaping from the Missouri State Penitentiary in 1967, following being sentenced to twenty years in prison for repeated offenses, he traveled to Los Angeles and decided to seek notoriety as the one who would stalk and kill Dr. King, who he had come to hate vehemently.

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