Report: Lawyer says James Earl Ray appeals over
March 18, 1998
Web posted at: 2:04 p.m. EST (1904 GMT)
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- Convicted assassin James Earl Ray's effort to seek a trial in the slaying of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is effectively over because Ray is too sick to proceed, Ray's lawyer told USA Today.
In Wednesday's edition of the newspaper, William Pepper says he will not appeal a Tennessee court order disqualifying a judge who had made rulings favorable to Ray. He said an appeal would tax Ray's physical resources, with little chance of success.
Ray, 70, is in critical condition in the prison ward of a Nashville hospital, suffering from liver disease.
He has been seeking a liver transplant for some time, but his brother said recently Ray is now too ill for that to do any good.
Ray pleaded guilty in 1969 to the killing and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. But within days he recanted his confession and began seeking a trial, which he never had because of the guilty plea.