Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, at the age of 39. At 6:01 p.m. on Thursday, while he was standing on the motel's second floor balcony, King was struck and killed by a single .30 bullet fired from a Remington 760 Gamemaster.
James Earl Ray, a fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary, was arrested two months later in London at Heathrow Airport, extradited to the United States, and charged with the crime. On March 10, 1969, Ray entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee state penitentiary. Ray later made many attempts to withdraw his guilty plea and be tried by a jury, but was unsuccessful; he died in prison on April 23, 1998, at the age of 70.
On April 3, King returned to Memphis to address a gathering at the Mason Temple. His airline flight to Memphis was delayed by a bomb threat against his plane. With a thunderstorm raging outside, King delivered the last speech of his life, now known as the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" address.
And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats... or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!