most wanted.jpgJames Earl Ray


James Earl Ray.jpg Description

Date of Birth:  March 10, 1928

Place of Birth:  Alton, Illinois

Hair:  Brown

Eyes:  Blue

Height:  5′ 10″

Weight:  165-174 lbs.

Race:   White

Occupation:   Escaped Convict

Additional:  Ray had been convicted of robbery, forging US Postal Service money orders, operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, armed robbery and burglary. 

 He has a noticeably protruding left ear. Ray is said to have completed a bartending course and may have attended dance instruction school.

Aliases:  Eric Starvo Galt, W.C. Herron, Harvey Lowmyer, James McBride, James O’Conner, James Walton, James Waylon, John Willard, “Jim”

 Wanted For:   Murder, Escaping from Prison

The Story

James Earl Ray has a long and colorful criminal history that includes forgery, armed robbery, car theft, prison escape and the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King.  He had a longstanding prejudice against African Americans and was very drawn to the segregationist movement.

His criminal career started in California, where he was brought up on burglary charges.  His next brush with the law came in 1952 after he was sentenced to serve two years behind bars after robbing an Illinois taxi driver.  But he didn’t stop there.  In 1955 he was arrested for mail fraud, and served three years in a Missouri prison for that crime. And then, four years after that, he was sentenced to serve 20 years for an armed robbery conviction.

Corrections records show managed to escape from that facility in 1967 by hiding in the back of a prison bakery truck.

In March of 1968 he traveled to Atlanta to stake out the possible residence of Dr. King.  From there, he bought a rifle, a scope and ammunition.  And two days later, when he learned of King’s planned appearance in Memphis, Tennessee, he packed his car and got on the road.

The assassination took place on April 4, 1968. 

Ray was eventually captured at London Heathrow Airport two months later, on June 8, 1968, after airport officials saw the name he was using was on the Canadian Mounted Police watchlist..

Last Edited:  06/06/2014