ST. LOUIS • He was a two-bit felon doing 20 years for robbery when he escaped from the Missouri State Penitentiary in a bread truck. The exploit made a small headline and was forgotten.
Roughly one year later, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered on a motel balcony in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Investigators found fingerprints in a rooming house across the street and on an abandoned Remington rifle.
On April 19, the FBI announced it had scanned 53,000 prints and made a hit — the three-time loser who had escaped on the truck in Jefferson City.