April 23, 1967

James Earl Ray escapes from the Missouri State Penitentiary. He was doing 20 years for a robbery when he escaped in a bread truck. It wasn’t even big news at the time until one year later when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Ray’s fingerprints—matched to a set of prints at the State Pen—were found on a rifle in a flophouse across the street from the Lorraine Motel.

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—Thomas Reaubourg on Unsplash