9. Dexter King & James Earl Ray
This awkward meeting took place in 1997 in a Tennessee state prison hospital between Dexter King, son of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Earl Ray (the convicted assassin of his father) It was the first between the two men and also marked the first time the King family had publicly backed Ray’s claim of innocence. Dexter King asked James Earl Ray, “Did you kill my father?” Ray answered: “No, I didn’t.” Dexter King responded, “I believe you, and my family believes you.” Ray was taken to the meeting room in a wheelchair, and at times he mumbled and rambled. Dexter King who was 36 at the time sat just three feet away and listened patiently to Ray who at the time was dying of liver disease.
Interesting Fact: Ray told his wife, who thought he was innocent, that he had killed King and threatened to kill her. In discussing the events surrounding King’s death, Ray admitted his guilt with the statement: “Yeah, I killed him. But what if I did; I never got a trial.” Ray died in prison a year later in 1998 at the age of 70.