Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Two months after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., his alleged killer was captured -- on the same day as Sen. Robert Kennedy's funeral. Though James Earl Ray, who died last year, initially pleaded guilty to the crime, he later tried to withdraw the plea. The King family has expressed its belief that Ray did not kill the civil rights leader, but was used as a foil in a greater conspiracy. An excerpt from The Post of June 9, 1968:
James Earl Ray, accused of killing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was captured by Scotland Yard detectives yesterday at London Airport.
Ray, alias Eric Starvo Galt, was passing through immigration control at the airport, on his way to take a flight to Brussels. He was traveling on a fraudulent Canadian passport carrying his newest alias -- Ramon George Sneyd.
The Justice Department announced the arrest in Washington at 11:30 a.m. Ray, who was carrying a fully loaded pistol when apprehended, was taken into custody at 6:15 a.m. (EDT), 11:15 a.m. London time.
Ray's trail since the April 4 shooting of Dr. King in Memphis led through Toronto, where he obtained a Canadian passport as Sneyd on April 25, and Lisbon, where he received a second Canadian passport, in the same name, on May 16.
A painstaking search by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police through more than 200,000 passport applications filed in Canada in the past year led to Ray's capture, according to a statement issued by the Canadian Embassy here.
The search turned up a photograph that closely resembled a picture of Ray distributed by the FBI. An investigation showed the application was a fake and the intensive search for Ray began to narrow.
Ray was arrested on charges of using a fraudulent passport to enter England and of carrying a concealed weapon. He was taken to London's Cannon Row police station and held under maximum security. He is to be arraigned Monday.
Ray, a 40-year-old escaped convict, was wearing glasses and was dressed in a light-colored raincoat, a sports jacket and gray trousers when arrested. He carried the revolver in his hip pocket.
The Justice Department announcement, issued in the names of Attorney General Ramsey Clark and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, said the United States will seek extradition of Ray on a murder indictment returned against him in Memphis on May 7.
One source said it normally takes a week before a suspect is remanded to American authorities in an extradition case. England and the United States have an extradition treaty applying to persons wanted for murder.
Toronto police said Ray apparently arrived there April 8, four days after Dr. King was shot by a sniper as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
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