Published in the Interest of the Staunton Community for Over 143 Years

MLK assassin was Illinois native

By Tom Emery

Most consider Martin Luther King, Jr. to be the greatest civil rights leader of all. Sadly for Illinois, his alleged assassin is a native son.

James Earl Ray, the man who many believe pulled the trigger, was born in Alton and spent time there at various points over the next four decades, sometimes with criminal intent. He committed many other misdeeds at various locales around Illinois.

Ray pled guilty to the killing of King, but later recanted. His role is still debated by researchers today, and some believe he was innocent, a bit player in a murky conspiracy. Among the doubters...


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