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James Earl Ray

Gerald Posner -- author of "Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr." -- was once asked why, if he was not part of a larger conspiracy, Ray was able to get away after the assassination and go on the lam. Where did he get the money? "He didn't have any money," Posner replied. "He had $340. He went to a travel agent in Toronto and asked for a flight to Rhodesia -- white Africa -- the only place he would be hailed as a hero. But he didn't have enough money, and had to go to London [and was soon apprehended]."

[Why did Ray kill King? Posner offered three reasons:
* He was a committed racist
* He wanted to be remembered as a hero by racists in the South
* He had learned about a $50,000 'bounty' on King's head, offered by other affirmed racists]

[In 1949, Ray was caught red-handed (by an assistant manager) burglarizing the office of a restaurant. He initially escaped, but only after a struggle in which he accidentally dropped his identification papers. Among his stories? First he said the papers left at the crime scene had been stolen from him. Days later, he admitted that he had been there, but had only entered the building to dine at the restaurant. Years later, he changed his tune again, writing in his first book that he had likely been drugged by a woman and left to sleep in the hallway of the building.]

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