James Earl Ray, the convicted killer of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., will have a chance next month to ask for his freedom, parole officials said Friday.

The Tennessee Board of Paroles has set a hearing for Ray on Jan. 26 at Brushy Mountain State Prison in Petros, where he is an inmate.Ray, 60, is serving a 99-year sentence for slaying King. Ray was a fugitive from a Missouri prison on April 4, 1968, when King journeyed to Memphis to support a strike by garbage workers. King was shot as he stood on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel.