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James Earl Ray

James Earl Ray (March 10, 1928 - April 23, 1998) was the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King Jr.

Ray pleaded guilty in Memphis, Tennessee on March 10, 1969 to assassinating King on April 4, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He recanted his confession within three days after his conviction.

Ray died from complications related to kidney disease, caused by hepatitis C. The hepatitis C was probably contracted as a result of a blood transfusion given after a stabbing whilst at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.

In 1997 Martin Luther King's son Dexter King met with Ray, and publicly supported Ray's effort for a trial. Attorney General Janet Reno launched a probe the following year. In 2000 they concluded that there was no credible evidence to support Ray's conspiracy theory claim.