Almost exactly 45 years to the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, new video footage has surfaced of his killer, James Earl Ray.
The Shelby County, Tenn., Register's office released the newly restored footage this week, posting several videos to its website chronicling certain aspects of the assassin's arrest and trial. The most dramatic of the videos shows Ray receiving his Miranda rights on an airplane shortly after his arrest in London in June, 1968.
"You have the right to remain silent," an officer can be heard dictating to Ray above the loud hum of the airplane's engines.
Ray shot King in the head on April 4, 1968, while the civil rights leader was standing on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. Ray then fled north from Memphis, across the Canadian border to Toronto, where he assumed a false identity and evaded detection for several weeks. He was ultimately arrested across the Atlantic, in London's Heathrow Airport, two months after the assassination. It was on the flight back to the United States, following his extradition, that the footage of Ray hearing his rights was recorded.
Shelby County has uploaded a number of additional videos from the Ray trial to its website, totaling several hours of previously unseen court procedure. The footage was the first of its kind for the county.
According to a statement released by Shelby County:
In 1968, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office purchased a Sony Videocorder and Video Camera for the purposes of documenting the extradition, incarceration, and proceedings as related to James Earl Ray for the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is believed that the personnel using the equipment were learning how to operate this technology as they recorded. As a result, the footage is not always as clear as we are accustomed to seeing today. Additional lighting is not used on most of the recordings. Audio portions are not always clear. There are inconsistencies in the video and audio tracks throughout the converted footage.