Tenn. prison that housed MLK assassin closes doors

Associated Press

PETROS, Tenn. — A Tennessee prison that was home to Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassin and many other of the state's worst criminals is closing its doors.

The Brushy Mountain Correctional Complex is the state's oldest prison at 113 years. It is closing Thursday because it's become too expensive to upgrade and maintain.

James Earl Ray, the man convicted of shooting and killing King in Memphis in 1968, was held at the prison for most of his 99-year sentence. He died in 1998 at a hospital in Nashville.

Ray tried to escape a few times, including once in 1977 when he made it into the rugged wilderness surrounding the prison and was caught three days later.

The prison was the largest employer in rural Morgan County, about 40 miles northwest of Knoxville.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press

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