Newly digitized video tape reels of James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, were released by the Shelby County Register’s office this week.
The video clips from July 1968 include footage of Ray on an airplane being extradited back to Memphis after he fled to London following the April 4 shooting. Much of the clips are of court footage, from the selection of jurors to Ray’s guilty plea.
Ray’s arresting officer, Sheriff and Mayor Bill Morris, told WREG Memphis News Channel 3 he’s glad that the tapes were made and are being released. 45 years later, he says the video shows the integrity the police used in this case.
“We were very conscious of the world media was looking at Memphis, Tennessee,” said Morris.
“The main thing we wanted to do, we wanted to make certain that from the time we took custody of James Earl Ray that no question could be raised about the legality of the process,” he added.
Ray was convicted March 10, 1969. He entered a guilty plea to forgo a jury trial which could have resulted in the death penalty if convicted. He died in prison at age 70 on April 23, 2998, while serving a 99-year sentence.
Footage below is of Ray just after his arrest in London, July 19, 1968.