The convicted killer of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and nearly 100 other Tennessee inmates with violent prison records will not be considered for early parole under an amended directive enacted by Gov. Ned McWherter.

In a letter Thursday to Parole Board Chairman Charles Traughber, McWherter amended a 1985 directive that called for a review of inmates for possible early release. The early reviews were aimed at easing prison overcrowding.McWherter's amendment of a directive by former Gov. Lamar Alexander would exclude "problem" inmates from early review; those prisoners who have attempted to escape, or who have been convicted of assaulting or killing an inmate or prison official.

The ruling would affect James Earl Ray, currently in prison for killing King, and nearly 100 other Tennessee inmates, officials said.