James Earl Ray was doing 20 years for a robbery when he escaped in a bread truck. It wasn’t even big news at the time, but it sure became big news a year later when Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis on April 4,1968. 

Investigators found fingerprints on a rifle in a flophouse across the street from the Lorraine Motel. The prints were later matched to a set taken from a small-time thief who had escaped from the Missouri State Pen – James Earl Ray.

Based upon content from the book Missouri 365: This Day in Missouri History by John W. Brown, broadcaster and Missouri historian. Get your copy at Reedy Press.

Photo from Unsplash