19. The assassination of Martin Luther King remains one of the most prominent historical murders in the United States
Becoming the face of the Civil Rights Movement, winning the Nobel Peace Prize for being the “first person in the Western world to have shown us that a struggle can be waged without violence”, Martin Luther King Jr. died following a fatal shooting at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee on April 4, 1968. Assassinated by James Earl Ray, a fugitive and white supremacist, in the face of overwhelming evidence, including the responsible rifle with his fingerprints on it, Ray pleaded guilty to the deed on March 10, 1969, and was subsequently sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison for King’s murder.
Despite the available evidence clearly pointing to the confessing Ray, from the beginning conspiracy theories started spreading concerning the assassination. Aided by the support and belief of the King family, the foremost conspiracy theories involve the United States Government – who had previously spied on and persecuted King – the Mafia, and local police, who supposedly collaborated to frame Ray for their crime. Encompassing a variety of concealed events, including a hidden shooter in the bushes, inconclusive ballistics reports, and relying heavily upon Ray’s subsequent recantation of his guilty plea, there remains little to no evidence of any hidden motivation or agenda behind the tragic event.