Long-lost video showing Martin Luther King’s killer in police custody has been posted online, 45 years after the civil rights leader’s murder. Officials in Tennessee unearthed the tapes of James Earl Ray in 2011 but had no way to view the old technology. Ray is seen in 1968 on a plane after extradition from Britain and as he is searched and given a medical exam and a bulletproof vest at a Memphis jail. King, a Baptist minister, was shot dead at a Memphis motel at age 39. Ray, a racist drifter and theretofore bungling career criminal, avoided a jury trial – and a possible death sentence – by entering a guilty plea in March 1969.
He was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He later recanted his confession, saying he had been framed by shadowy conspirators, but his plea was repeatedly upheld in the courts. He died in 1998 at 70. The footage of Ray in custody was discovered in the Shelby County sheriff’s office along with logs and photographs from the investigation.