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Ray's Rifle Fired in Bid to Clear Him in King Case

May 15, 1997| Associated Press

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — James Earl Ray's rifle was fired Wednesday to begin tests that Ray hopes will clear him in the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ray, 69, imprisoned in Tennessee and gravely ill with liver disease, pleaded guilty in 1969 to killing the civil rights leader but almost immediately recanted.

Markings on the slugs will be compared to the bullet from King's body.

The tests will use an electron microscope, which was not available when Ray went to prison. He hopes they will show the bullet that killed King came from another weapon.

A report should be released next month, said Robert Hathaway, leader of the testing team.

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