On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated by a sniper outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Two months later, King’s killer, James Earl Ray, was apprehended. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Like all famous assassinations, this one is surrounded by conspiracy theories. Ray recanted his guilty plea and claimed he was set up as a patsy to take the fall for King’s assassination. By the time Ray died in 1998, even King’s son was convinced that Ray did not commit the murder.
The biggest unanswered question behind this alleged conspiracy theory is the existence of a mysterious unidentified figure named Raoul. In 1967, Ray was a fugitive who had escaped a Missouri prison while serving time for robbery. After fleeing to Montreal, Ray claimed he crossed paths with a shadowy individual calling himself Raoul, who hired Ray to perform smuggling jobs for him. Days before King’s assassination, Ray purchased a rifle in Birmingham, Alabama. This rifle was found near the Lorraine Motel and determined to be the murder weapon. However, Ray maintained that Raoul ordered him to purchase the rifle and that he gave the weapon to Raoul on April 3. The next day, Raoul told Ray to rent a room at a boardinghouse overlooking the Lorraine Motel. This was the location where Ray allegedly shot King, but Ray claimed he was at an entirely different location when the shooting took place.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King
There has always been debate about whether Raoul was the mastermind behind King’s assassination or a complete fabrication dreamed up by James Earl Ray. If Raoul really did exist, his identity could shed a lot of light on Martin Luther King’s murder.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Martin Luther King