April 23, 1967: James Earl Ray escapes from the Missouri State Penitentiary at Jefferson City by hiding, improbably, in a breadbox. Less than a year later, he would kill Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis. Before the escape, Ray had been imprisoned at Jeff City facing a twenty-year sentence for having robbed, at gunpoint, a Kroger supermarket in St. Louis. His wanderings while on the lam took him as far as Los Angeles and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. How he managed to escape Jeff City and pull off the murder of the nation’s foremost civil rights leader is a subtext of my book, Redemption: The Last Journey of Martin Luther King, Jr. Beacon Press will publish the book in the spring of 2018.
This is the bathroom in the rooming house from which James Earl Ray shot Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968. King was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel across Mulberry Street.