The last of six prisoners who escaped last Friday night with James Earl Ray was taken into custody today.
At the same time, prison officials disclosed that Ray had $290 and a scrap of a road map with him when he was apprehended early Monday after more that two days on the run in the Cumberland Mountains.
The warden of the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, Stonnty Lane, described the sum as relatively small and "makes us believe he did not have any outside help. That assures us he was not going to buy his way out."
But he added, in connection with theories that the escape was aided by outsiders, "I don't think we'll ever know for sure.
"They are the only ones who know and they aren't saying anything."
On Monday, Lane said that officials felt that Ray and his cellmate, Earl Hill Jr., had plotted the breakout with Douglas Shelton, the last of the seven escapes who was recaptured today. The three often played volleyball together, Lane said.
A lawyer for Ray, the convicted slayer of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said his client denied participation in the planning. The lawyer also said he didn't think Ray had outside help. In Ray's left front pocket, officers found $80 in a rubber band, Lane said. The remainder was located during a strip search before a physical examination in the prison infirmary.
The warden said inmates are allowed to have up to $70 in cash but guards routinely find more money in cells than the rule allows. Ray was paid $35 at the first of each month for work in the prison laundry. He was also entitled to draw $35 in the middle of each month from a prison account provided each prisoner for income from relatives and prison work, inmates for various purposes, including gambling, Lane said.
Shelton was found after a van he stole in the Beech Fork area of Anderson Country ran off a state highway and over an embankment as guards gave chase. Officials said Larry Phillips, the owner of the van, had just gotten in when he was grabbed from behind and thrown out by Shelton, who was caught about 18 miles down the winding highway from where Ray was captured and about seven miles north-east of the prison.
Ray conferred with his attorney, Jack Kershaw of Nashville, for less than an hour today, but he refused to meet with investigators from the House Committee on Assassinations who were at the prison to inquire about the escape.
"I think we can discount the theory that he got any outrs after talking to his client.