James Earl Ray, serving a 99-year sentence for the murder of civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. but who had never faced trial for the assassination, was found "not guilty" by a mock jury at the conclusion of a three-hour mock trial on HBO last night.
The jury reached its unanimous verdict after 10 hours of deliberation. The "verdict" had been concealed from writers previewing "Guilt or Innocence: The Trial of James Earl Ray."
The "trial," marking the 25th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination, featured real prosecutors and defense attorneys, a retired federal judge and a witness list that included Ray himself, testifying via satellite from his Nashville prison. The trial was staged over 54 hours in January in a Memphis courtroom.
Ray, 65, pleaded guilty to the murder in 1969 and was sentenced to prison without a trial. He subsequently recanted.