James Earl Ray off critical list
February 21, 1998
Web posted at: 9:01 p.m. EST (0201 GMT)
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- The condition of James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., improved Saturday following his hernia surgery last week.
Ray, 69, was upgraded from critical to serious, said Pam Hobbins, Correction Department spokeswoman. She had no word on when he might be released from Columbia Nashville Memorial Hospital.
Ray has cirrhosis of the liver and has been in and out of the hospital several times during the past year.
Ray is serving a 99-year prison sentence for King's 1968 slaying in Memphis. He says he was framed.
Ray has been seeking a medical transfer to Pittsburgh for a liver transplant but his various legal motions have been rejected by state courts.
He has been detained at the Lois DeBerry Special Needs Facility next to the Riverbend State Penitentiary in Nashville since his liver problem was diagnosed.