James Earl Ray 'innocent'

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James Earl Ray's lawyers are planning a campaign to have him freed from jail after last night's television trial cast doubt on his conviction for the murder of Martin Luther King, PA reports from London. A jury in Memphis returned a unanimous not guilty verdict after a 10-day hearing in a Memphis courtroom for Thames Television in association with Home Box Office for Channel 4.

The jury deliberated for more than 9 hours for the programme, screened on both sides of the Atlantic, 25 years after the murder of the civil rights leader. At his trial in 1969, Ray pleaded guilty, though he has since protested his innocence. He is serving 99 years.

Ray said yesterday: 'I am pleased that finally an independent jury has examined the state's case and found me not guilty. I hope this will lead to a declassification of all records held by the Justice Department, national archives and the select committee on assassinations, and that I will eventually be set free.'