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James Earl beam was sentenced come 99 years in prison for the murder of young name Luther King Jr. He passed away in prison in 1998.

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Writer Hampton Sides was a 6-year-old living in Memphis once Martin Luther King Jr. To be assassinated ~ above April 4, 1968.

"I mental the tension," the says. "I remember see tanks, and I remember emotion that ours city was ripping apart."


Hellhound ~ above His Trail: The Stalking of martin Luther King Jr. And the global Hunt for His AssassinBy Hampton SidesHardcover, 480 pagesDoubleday list price: $28.95

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Four decades later, Sides, an editor-at-large for Outside magazine and the writer of the historical books Ghost Soldiers and also Blood and Thunder, has actually returned to the topic of King"s assassination. In his brand-new book, Hellhound top top His Trail, Sides carefully weaves the activities of King"s assassin, James Earl Ray, through those of King, who had traveled come Memphis to support sanitation employees on strike.

It to be public knowledge, sides says, that King was remaining at the Lorraine Hotel. Despite it would certainly be unheard of today, both King"s location and his room number had actually been report in the local media.

"Not just that, yet King had actually no protection detail. He had actually no bodyguards, no entourage watching the end for him," political parties says. "It"s actually extraordinary how tiny security King had. It definitely seems man to us currently ... beam was a news junkie. The would have been simple ."


Ray checked into a flophouse throughout the street native the Lorraine. He payment a week"s rent. Native the room that rented, there was no straight line of sight onto the balcony wherein King to be shot. Instead, that went down the room to a filthy communal bathroom, where he can see King"s balcony if he leaned the end the window.

"After the assassination, the police discovered that the window in the bathroom had actually been jerked up 5 inches. The display had been jimmied native the groove, and also there was a palm publish on the wall, and also various world in the flophouse heard a shot coming from that bathroom," political parties says. "It came to be pretty clean that"s wherein the shot came from."

Within seconds, Memphis police police officers were top top the scene, trying to determine who had actually killed King. Remarkably, beam was able slip away.

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"He ran down the stairs, take it a left and also turned -- and he was running toward his car, which was a white Mustang parked ~ above the street, as soon as he saw some policemen," sides explains. "He had to execute a an extremely impulsive thing: that ditched the weapon. Whatever needed to resolve that case was in the bundle through the weapons and various other belongings the he had there. However if that hadn"t done that, he would have actually been caught instantly with the weapons in his arms. Therefore he jumped in the car and also took off."


Two month later, the FBI tracked under Ray in London, whereby he to be taken into custody and extradited back to the joined States. How Ray was able to evade a global man hunt, and also whether he had help in law so, are concerns that linger in Sides" imagination.

"I think he had actually some help along the way," sides says. "How did the gather all of the alias ? There space plenty of unanswered questions."