The Man Who Killed Martin Luther King
The Life and Crimes of James Earl Ray
Imprint: Frontline Books
216 Pages, 6.1 x 9.2 in
- April 2023
- In Stock
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 4 April 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, 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.
The Man Who Killed Martin Luther King is 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.
Most importantly, the testimony of Anna Sandhu has often been ignored by writers but her story is crucial in gaining an understanding of Ray’s deceptive ways. A courtroom artist, who, after listening to Ray’s story, later married him. Also missing from accounts of the alleged ‘conspiracy’ is the story told to this author by Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary Deputy Warden Rolland H. Cisson, which decisively renders Ray’s claims of innocence to be bogus.
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.
From the time of King’s murder, the reader will follow Ray to solitary confinement in a Nashville prison. Then, six years later, on 10 June 1977, James Earl Ray again escaped from prison, this time with five others. Ray was the last to be recaptured, having survived only on wheatgerm. Finally, the book relays Ray’s stabbing by several black inmates, then his resulting diagnosis with Hepatitis C, which caused his death twelve years later, in 1998.
“All the world knows the febrile conspiracy theories about Lee Harvey Oswald not having assassinated JFK. Much of the world knows about Sirhan Sirhan supposedly not killing RFK. But how many know that a comparable brew of wild-eyed plots swirl around James Earl Ray being innocent of murdering MLK? In another classic study, Mel Ayton takes these last seriously and methodically demolishes them, thereby cleansing both the historical record and the political environment. Thank you, Mel.” ~Daniel Pipes, Publisher of the Middle East Quarterly and Author of Conspiracy: The Power of the Paranoid Style in History
“Mel Ayton’s new book is thoroughly researched, incredibly wellwritten, and puts to rest a half century’s worth of conspiracy theories surrounding one of the most notorious assassinations of the 20th century. The Man Who Killed Martin Luther King shows that the United States can only move past the trauma of MLK’s murder with the truth, not with stories about shadowy cabals and deep state scheming.” ~Scott Rank, PhD, Host of History Unplugged
“Mel Ayton is one of the pre-eminent historians dealing with the messy issue of assassinations. What’s truly stunning is how he takes complex narratives and weaves them together for the reader. Once again, he’s done it with The Man Who Killed Martin Luther King.” ~Ryan Ray, War Room Media, Board of Advisors for the George H.W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations