Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mark Lane: The Left's Leading Hearse Chaser, by Bob Katz,

August 1979, Mother Jones, pages 22-32, Mark Lane: The Left's Leading Hearse Chaser, by Bob Katz,


The Left's Leading Hearse-Chaser
By Bob Katz

ON THE AFTERNOON of November 14, 1978, four days before the holocaust that occurred a continent away, an owl-eyed, bearded, burly and bespectacled man in a natty three-piece suit stomped into the climate-controlled hearing room on Capitol Hill, alone, briefcase in hand. All eyes and, most importantly, all TV cameras shifted toward him.

He did not gaze up to meet their stares, so certain was he of being the center of attention. This was the forum he had been waiting for. This was how he had always imagined it could be. They with their notepads and cameras,demanded quotes, and, in due time, he would provide. They wanted to know, and, at his leisure, he would tell. They growled for headlines, and, at last, such bones were his to toss out.

This was not the New York State Assembly, where he might as well have been some little kid trying to sneak through the turnstile. Nor was it the pompous proceedings of the Warren Commission, where he was treated like a black in Birmingham, begrudgingly permitted the back seat on the bus.

This was not a rickety sound truck chugging through the trash-strewn streets of Spanish Harlem, nor the show-trial at Wounded Knee, nor some whistle-stop backwoods state college, where he had to switch his lightning-quick mind onto automatic pilot and recite, for the nine-hundredth time, the same stale joke about Jack Ruby's mother's dental chart. No, this was the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) and he, Mark Lane, was in the limelight, alone, briefcase in hand, the way he doubtless imagined it should be.

Lane was appearing in Washington as counsel and legal guardian to Grace E. Walden, an alleged witness to the King assassination, whom he had recently considered harboring, out of fear for her safety, at a remote jungle commune. After a decade of agitation on the John F. Kennedy case, Lane had come to the mysteries of the King slaying with the zest of an aging, freeagent fastball pitcher jumping to a pennant contender. He had cowritten with Dick Gregory a mass-market book on the case—Code Name "Zorro"— rallied the congressional black caucus to call for an official . investigation, counseled James Earl Ray and done for the King issue all those uniquely ingenious and effective ploys of political promotion he had learned in 26 years of futile quests for noble causes.

Lane had developed a methodology over the years that was as distinctively his in style and content as a thumbprint on a police blotter: leap like a tiger at a hunch or a tip, call a press conference, make dramatic charges to illustrate that the issue—be it nuclear proliferation, assassination cover-up or dishonesty in the media—boils down to nothing less than the age-old tussle betwixt good and evil. Then crank up an investigation, borrow and magnify other people's evidence and, finally, never let up so long as there is a virgin ear unassailed by the accusations.

It had been a long haul for Mark Lane. He had always been the underdog, the' outsider. The strain showed in his tired eyes, and, to students of the assassinations, forced against their will to become students of Lane's, the strain also showed in his increasingly quixotic behavior. According to Lane, Walden was "the most important witness in the King case."

Since, according to testimony at the hearing, Walden was drunk at the time of the shooting and had a history of mental illness, Lane's claim was difficult to evaluate. Nonetheless, the HSCA accepted the task with fervor.

In fact, the Assassinations Committee had had a veritable feast on Lane's inaccuracies in the King case, from his published interview with Ray's alibi witness, who admitted to the committee that he told Lane a false story in hopes of gaining fame and fortune, to his allegations about the Memphis police removal of black police detective Ed Redditt, who turned out to be as much a police spy as a security guard, and whose removal from a watch post near the Lorraine Motel was apparently motivated by nothing more than fear of reprisal from King's people should they discover the spying.

But erudition and punctiliousness have never been Lane's strong suit. Leave the footnotes and appendices to those pinheads who read all 26 volumes of the Warren evidence. Lane, more than any of the Warren Commission critics, has seen that in the world of realpolitik a well-timed press conference may do more for an issue than tedious investigation, that passionate rhetoric carries more weight than a pile of corroborative documents. Lane's goal had always been to bring the assassination question before a congressional forum, so what could it finally matter how a professor might grade him on his research?

What did it matter what Grace Walden saw? One look at her—gray-haired, aged, bedraggled—and anyone but the Director of Covert Operations would admit she was, if not a victim of FBI/police harassment and illegal confinement in an insane asylum, as Lane claimed, then surely a victim of something else. Like Oswald. Like Ray. Like Dennis Banks. Perhaps like some small recessive part of Lane himself.

In the congressional hearing room, with the bright media lights glinting on his glasses, Lane took his seat and was sworn in by HSCA chairperson, Rep. Louis Stokes (D-Ohio). Earlier in the day, the committee had introduced testimony and medical records suggesting that Grace Walden had been psychotic for many years and had been justifiably hospitalized. She was a witness of significance, they said, only in her observation of the drunken condition at the time of the assassination of her husband, Charles Q. "Bay Rum Charlie" Stephens, who had once sworn that the man he saw fleeing the rooming house after the shooting was James Earl Ray. For Lane, the hearing was not shaping up as a triumph.

He glared with disdain at the members of the committee, smugly seated on the carpeted proscenium, swiveling in their plush leather chairs. He had once been a politician. "Up and coming," he had been called some 20 years before. But the road to Congress was lined with compromises he was reluctant to make, among them his conviction that bureaucrats in starched shirts perpetrate more evil than good. That he was presently dressed better than any committee member save the unctuous Stokes was but one of many ironies and hypocrisies that his peripatetic career had rendered him blind to.

Lane glared again, leaned into the microphone and lit into the committee for their public debunking of Grace Walden, using the same stirring phraseage and dramatically modulated voice with which he assails the CIA out on the college circuit. "Until this moment," he said, his voice soft and restrained, "although I have closely observed this committee, until this moment I could not accurately gauge the extent and depth of your cruelty. . She [Walden] is living a normal life now that she is out of Gulag Bolivar [the asylum] in Tennessee. She is a decent human being, whom you have sought to destroy before the American people for your own purposes.

"She has suffered for ten years in that institution because she would not lie, because," his words louder now, more rhythmic, a demagogic crescendo to them, "she would not cover up the facts about the death of Dr. King. She had that kind of character, and America would be a better place today if one of you had that same kind of character. You do not," his voice trembling with anger, "and you all, all of you, make me ill."

That said, he stood up, grabbed his briefcase and stomped defiantly out to catch a plane, rumor had it, to some godforsaken country in South America.

Unexpected Knockout

Mark Lane grew up in Brooklyn, joined the Army and went to Europe in 1945. In 1952, hardly the heyday of the socially conscious professional, Lane graduated from Brooklyn Law School and set up a storefront practice in East Harlem, a predominantly Puerto Rican area that was a good place to start a career if one was looking for nothing more than needy cases. He handled tenant-eviction, police-brutality and welfare-aid cases in the neighborhood, often without fee; he also defended beatnik coffee houses in Greenwich Village from the harassments of officialdom. In 1960, frustrated by Tammany Hall obstinacy, Lane founded the East Harlem Reform Democratic Club, a base from which to establish tenant councils, stage sympathy pickets with the southern freedom-marchers and lobby to rescind the English-language literacy requirements for voter registration.

Promising to serve only until a successful Latin candidate could be found, Lane ran for state assembly on a reform platform and, riding on the coattails of Kennedy's immense popularity in the barrio, swept to victory in the November election. At age 33, he was an elected official with an unblemished record of good deeds, an excited constituency of the disenfranchised and a future of . . . In the September 29, 1961 issue of Commonweal, Jack Newfield wrote, "And what of Lane's future? He is, I think, at age 33, destined to help fill a great void in American political life. Someday, if the Senate of the United States is very lucky, Mark Lane may be its gadfly."

A Democrat in the Republican-controlled New York legislature, a loudmouthed, querulous radical in the citadel of establishmentarianism, a crusader against the House, Un-American Activities Committee at a time when J. Edgar Hoover's Masters of Deceit soared on the bestseller list, Lane came to feel that his first term in the state assembly was a propitious time to challenge the speaker, Joseph Carlino, right-hand man to Governor Nelson Rockefeller. They battled over that Eisenhower-era bugaboo: making bomb shelters mandatory in public schools.

The issue was perfect for Lane—progressive in its defiance of the '50s fanaticism about preparedness for the Big One, national and even international in scope, frightening in a way guaranteed to excite the deepest political passions and, most importantly, reminiscent of a previous bout between David and Goliath, recorded elsewhere.

He charged Speaker Carlino with conflict of interest and called for his resignation. Carlino was on the board of directors of Lancer Industries, a swimming pool manufacturer that owned a subsidiary that made fallout shelters; at the same time, Carlino was writing and orchestrating the legislation that would make fallout shelters required in all New York public schools, an estimated $100 million program. Lane produced corroborative affidavits and documentary memoranda. His charges received widespread attention in the media, an occurrence noted by Governor Rockefeller, who termed Lane "ruthlessly misleading." The die was cast. This was not the way the state legislature conducted its affairs. By the time the Committee on Ethics and Guidance cleared Carlino of any guilt, due to the absence of any
explicit conflict-of-interest statute, not even Lane was expecting otherwise. The Ethics Committee's findings were endorsed 143-1 by the full assembly.

State politics were never made to be his forum, and Lane announced his plans to run for Congress. With the support and encouragement of people for whom he had become the very model of the self-sacrificing crusader Perdy Sutton, Shelley Winters, Erich Fromm, James Weschler —Lane entered the Democratic primary. And a very strange thing happened.

A photograph leaked out, arriving via surreptitious courier at the offices of relevant reporters and politicos. It was black-and-white and blatant, nothing artistic. One night—or maybe afternoon (the setting and lighting provide no clue)—Lane seemingly did something daring. Or maybe it was not so daring. Who knows what really goes on in America's bedrooms?

In the snapshot, a man appearing to be Mark Lane is naked, with an erection, lying on his side, someone's black-gloved fist reaching out to jab at his manhood. The expression on his face is of delight, not horror.

Despite Lane's denials about the authenticity of the photo, rumors abounded. The word was out. The primary was lost. His followers confused; his name besmirched. He had been set up with the oldest trick in the book. The door was slammed shut, and Lane was faced with this realization: the forces out there were as devious as the haunted stories he liked to tell about them.

The path of electoral politics was now closed forever. If his voice was to be heard, it would have to sing out on alternative channels—public lectures, radio talk shows, underground periodicals. If Lane wanted the limelight, he would have to hustle for it. If he was to continue in politics, he would have to find himself a sensational cause.

Counsel for Ghosts

When John Kennedy was assassinated and, two days later, the alleged assassin gunned down also, no one saw more of the big picture sooner, no one acted with more determination more quickly. Despite the scoffing of his radical comrades, Lane had been a big fan and supporter of Kennedy. If JFK was wishy-washy in foreign affairs and compromised on domestic issues, he nonetheless radiated a charm and charisma that Lane appreciated. When Camelot was fatally attacked in Dallas, no one was more ready to perceive clandestine treachery than Lane. Others had hunches; Mark Lane knew.

In Oswald, Lane saw a hapless victim caught up in a game that was out of his league. The alleged assassin's confused and frightened stare, his tense and bitter voice, the pleading before the media to an authority that did not exist, for a justice that never was, must have struck in Lane a nerve rubbed raw by the sex-photo setup. After Jack Ruby emerged on the television screen to do his thing, Lane blurted out, "If I were Oswald's attorney, he'd still be alive!" Lane became counsel for the defense of ghosts.

Late in 1963, in the National Guardian, he published the first article challenging the lone assassin theory. He contacted Oswald's mother, Marguerite, and struck a deal to represent her son's rights during the Warren Commission proceedings, which intuition must have told him would be no more fair-minded than the New York State Assembly Committee on Ethics and Guidance. In New York, he launched public lectures, night after night, alleging conspiracy. Shots came from the front. Oswald was killed to prevent a trial. Injustice, he proclaimed, was loose in the land.

He went to Europe and received the support of the eminent Bertrand Russell. In 1965 he formed an organization in his image, the Citizens Committee of Inquiry (CCI), to press the issue. After numerous rejections, he finally published a book on the case, Rush to Judgment, which became a No. 1 bestseller the next year. His name was a household word, he was a hero on the college campuses, an anathema to The New York Times and a frequent radio talk show guest telling the scariest of ghost stories across the placid airwaves

Although Lane pursued the issue with the proprietary tenaciousness of an ambulance-chasing attorney, he was not alone in his efforts. Harold Weisberg, Paul Hoch, Sylvia Meagher and Josiah Thompson, among others, made scholarly and valuable contributions to the critique of the Warren Report. But when the media wanted a spokesman for the issue—someone to refer to or to just pillory—it was invariably Lane. He was brash, assertive and, in his success, easy to portray as exploitative and greedy.

Lane was not one to be fastidious with data. The glaring errors and extravagances in some of his statements cast unfortunate doubt on the rest of them. He tantalized the Warren Commission with a story about a meeting a week before the assassination between Ruby, the slain police officer J. D. Tippit (killed shortly after Kennedy) and the man who printed up "Wanted for Treason" posters with JFK's picture on them. But the affidavits were never forthcoming. In a press conference to call for a new investigation, Lane disclosed that Robert Kennedy had revealed his sympathy for such efforts in a letter to British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, a supporter of Lane's. Kennedy, Lane said, urged the historian to "keep up the good work." Trevor-Roper vigorously denied the existence of the letter and ultimately denounced Lane. "Lane has never seen a lily without wanting to gild it," complains rival conspiracy researcher Harold Weisberg. "I only wish he were content to steal from others, but he has this urge to invent his own stuff."

The investigation of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, which exploded into the news in 1967, left little room, or need, for Lane's embellishments. The indictments and bill of particulars presented by Garrison surpassed even the wildest of late-night campfire speculations: a connection between Oswald and a CIA contract employee, a military manipulation of the autopsy, a veritable coup d'etat in Dallas. Lane rushed to New Orleans and became a tireless pitchman for the investigation. "Besides Jim Garrison, I am perhaps the only person in the world who knows the identity of the assassins," he boldly announced. But America, in 1967, was marching to another cause.

Lane to the Rescue

Lane's opposition to the war in Vietnam went back to the early '60s, when, as a member of the anti-bomb organization SANE, he protested the involvement of Kennedy Administration military advisers in Southeast Asia. In 1968, the young and radical—Lane's audience—were into utopian notions of countercultural revolutionary nirvana, in which any mention of the Kennedy assassination was a distinct bummer. So Lane began to work full time against the war.

He was a prime mover of and legal counsel to the Winter Soldiers Convention, an airing of war atrocities held in 1970 in Detroit, where he lived in a commune of anti-war vets along with the newly radicalized Jane Fonda. He then traveled to Mountain Home, Idaho, and organized an anti-war coffee house near the Air Force base there.

"The project attracted a lot of people," Lane remembers. "Dick Gregory, a good friend, made two visits to talk to black GIs. Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Ben Vereen stopped by. It became a very effective project. In fact, there are now memos, which we have found in Freedom of Information suits, showing that on more than one occasion the Joint Chiefs of Staff would begin their meetings by discussing the problem of Mountain Home Air Force Base." Lane lived in Idaho for two years, until the Indian insurrection at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, to which he swiftly split in order to handle the legal work.

The word "gadfly" began to hang in the breeze left by his departure. If there was a recurring pattern, it was of Lane charging into an issue, holding a press conference, filing an action, pledging solidarity and moving on. Not that he did bad work, not that he did not give his all while he was in town, just that he left town while there was still so much work to be done. "If he was F. Lee Bailey, there would be no confusion," complained a coworker on the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee, which Lane helped to start. "But Mark claims to be a comrade, to want to share the work with you."

In this regard, Lane represents but a more extreme version of a complaint made by many issue-oriented Left organizations against their prominent legal counsels. The names are familiar to anyone who follows the news pages: William Kunstler, Florence Kennedy, Leonard Boudin and Lane's colleague in Jonestown, Charles Garry. While some of these lawyers do possess legitimate courtroom capabilities and do give skilled help with taxes and incorporation, their true value is often as publicists. For impoverished activist groups locked into lengthy show-trials as a result of government persecution, these media-star counsels are both necessary to keep people out of jail and desirable for that last-ditch propaganda effort that such trials frequently signal.

Yet the comparison with Lane is patently unfair to the others. A prominent attorney cannot be blamed for being flamboyant in defense of principled causes or for the personality-oriented media coverage that inevitably follows. But there is a special set of constraints that should apply when a person is reaping publicity rewards for representing political movements. Where other superstar movement lawyers have managed some respectful deference to the causes that have brought them into the limelight, Lane has been singular in his refusal to submit to any discipline beyond his own ego.
Changes come over a person who constantly has listeners at his feet. A joke works, you tell it the next night. Your commitment is admired, you invite her up to see all of it.
Had Lane remained in electoral politics and gone on to fulfill his destiny as the first radical senator from New York, none of his ruthless ambition would have been noticed. On the lawns of Capitol Hill, Lane's excesses would have appeared as common as crabgrass. The true misfortune of the sexphoto setup was that Lane's thirst for publicity had to be quenched at the next well, the underdog issues of the day.

Eyes of the Beholder

Somewhere along the way, Lane the gadfly began to buzz much more often than bite. His movements grew nomadic-—Denmark to New Orleans to Paris to Idaho to St. Paul, Minnesota. He prowled around and wrote a book, Arcadia, about the grisly murders of a sharecropper's children in a sleepy Florida town. He wrote another book, Conversations with Americans, about grisly GI atrocities in Vietnam. The carnage at the 1968 Democratic Convention gave rise to another Lane book, Chicago Eyewitness. It would not take a literary critic to detect the threads that were starting to tie his life together.

His personal life was a chaos that he kept one step ahead of. His marriage in the mid-'60s ended in a separation from his Danish wife and two children. She lives in Paris. There were women wherever he went. It was the height of the fuck-for-peace movement, that retrospectively ignominious effort to end the war by liberating the libido, whose repression, so the theory went, simply fueled the military-industrial complex.

Changes come over a person who stays on the move, in the news, constantly regaling audiences, with no constant environment save the constant listeners at his feet. He becomes a function of the reaction in the eye of the be-holder, be it an expectant college crowd, the vast abstraction of radioland or an eager young female fan. A joke works, you tell it the next night. Your commitment is admired, you invite her up to see all of it. If it's an aura you're after, you tell ghost stories. Whisper. There are ghosts in Disneyland. I have seen them. Come.

Lane, needless to say, does not see it this way. He seems to view himself (in the mirror as well as the news pages) as a knight errant, compelled to journey hither and yon by the sheer pervasiveness of imperialism and fascism.

He is about six feet tall, with a husky upper body and an aggressive stride. His hair is black and bushy even when coifed. Thick brows envelop his eyes like claws. But the beard is the key. Without it, years ago, Lane looked like the dean of a fly-by-night tax accounting college. With it—now black and streaked with wisps of white—he looks like a distinguished undersecretary of something or other.

In personal discussion, Lane speaks in soft, moist whispers, nary a hint of the booming impassioned oratory that can resonate to even the back rows of crowded, acoustically imperfect auditoriums. He folds his hands ostentatiously or touches the listener on the wrist to underscore a point. Even when subdued, his conversation is peppered with name dropping and anecdotes, refined over the course of a hundred retellings to italicize his wit, social concern and historical importance.

On his testimony at the Chicago Seven trial: "Tom Hayden called me and asked if I would testify about what I saw. Well, later there was a play in New York about the trial, and a critic said that the best line in the play was delivered by someone playing my role. In his questioning, Kunstler asked what I had been doing in Chicago. I said I had come because I was running for vice president with Dick Gregory. 'Vice president of what?' he asked. 'United States,' I said. There were laughs. Kunstler said, 'I take it you were not elected.' There were more laughs. Then I said, 'No, we peaked too soon.' "

The Unwitting Agent

By 1975, pricked by the revelations of Watergate, there was a national resurgence of interest in the JFK assassination. The public wanted to know what else was rotten in the state. While Lane was off on his other forays, a new generation of researchers and activists emerged to travel the colleges, preach at teach-ins and display the bootlegged Zapruder film to incredulous viewers. Lane might have become something of a leader of this revival, but a certain stinginess had been creeping into his antics, like carbon in an engine, and when he came back to the issue, he saw this new legion of critics as nothing but unwanted trespassers.

The Assassination Information Bureau, a Washington-based research and education group, of which 1 am a director, Lane termed "FBI dupes." Lane had come to make that most pitiful of connections: we opposed his causes; anyone who opposed him worked for the government. He held a press conference to trumpet the testimony of a witness, Julia Ann Murcer--—testimony that Jim Garrison had revealed on The Tonight Show eight years previously. When asked about this, Lane scornfully replied, "Anything the press doesn't remember is news." The man who once claimed, "I know the identity of the assassins," now leveled broadsides at almost all other critics for "irresponsible speculation." "I have no idea who killed John Kennedy," he now said. "But I do know that Congress has an obligation to investigate."

By the time Congress did begin an investigation, in late 1976, Lane, through his undocumented claims, his haranguing of other activists and his insistence on being the sole spokesman for the issue, was himself casting a cloud over the inquiry.
If you kill us," Lane said, "there will be no one left to tell of the glories of Jonestown." The guard pointed to the jungle. Lane was free to tell another ghost story.
Lane's conduct was growing frantic. He attempted to get an HSCA researcher fired because the researcher had quit the Citizens Commission of Inquiry after a fight with Lane. The researcher, Kevin Walsh, was regarded by most critics as the ablest and most pro-conspiracy member of the HSCA staff. When New Times magazine ran a cover story alleging a conspiracy in the King case with Jerry Ray as a middleman, Lane, who had become counsel for Jerry as well as his brother James Earl, urged him to press a libel suit against the magazine. During a talk show, he threatened to punch then-New Times editor Robert Sam Anson. When James Earl Ray was interviewed before the HSCA, in August 1978, the first public forum appearance ever by an alleged assassin, Lane turned the hearing into a showplace for his own mania. He berated the committee, the media, the FBI and Ray's federal prison guards and generally obstructed Ray's precious testimony. It was a neat trick for a defense attorney, but an abomination for a concerned investigator. "We viewed Lane not so much a critic as an acting agent of the cover-up," complained one HSCA investigator.

Flight to Destiny

The flight Lane caught to Georgetown Guyana, the day after his [ ] Grace speech before the HSCA was a detour, but a continuation down he had been traveling for some time. The Rev. Jim Jones was a social idealist with a totalitarian bent, an integrationist whose colony had become segregated.

Lane first visited Jonestown in September 1978, shortly after his obstreperous representation of James Earl Ray before the HSCA. The introduction to Jones had been made by Lane's long- time factotum, Donald Freed, whom Jones had selected to write the official biography of the Peoples Temple. Lane and Freed had coauthored the 1973 novelization about the Kennedy assassination, Executive Action.

Jim Jones was under the suspicion that the growing failures of his jungle commune were attributable to the FBI and CIA. "I told him ... you don't have to overreact," says Lane now. "You don't have to be paranoid. There's a lawful way to get this material [intelligence agency files] and if there's agents there, there's a lawful way to deal with them."

Lane was paid a $10,000 retainer by Jones to file Freedom of Information Act suits against the intelligence agencies and to wage a counterattack against the negative publicity that was beginning to appear against the Peoples Temple. The suits were never filed, but Lane did vigorously lobby the National Enquirer against running a derogatory account, and he met with parents of Temple members to dissuade them from taking legal action.

Although the media typically criticize Lane for being in it for the money, he has rarely played the hired-gun role to a high-paying client, a traditional role in the legal profession. The considerable money he has made over the years, while welcome, has mostly been a side-effect of his quest for fame. On behalf of Jim Jones, Lane was, for the first time in ages, a well-paid legal counsel. And, for the first time since he campaigned for JFK, Lane was cruising in someone else's wake.

Lane has said that he accompanied Congressman Leo Ryan's fact-finding mission to Jonestown in order to have a calming influence on Jones. This is hard to imagine, considering Lane's track record for escalating conflicts. Lane had denounced the FBI and CIA too vigorously for too long, receiving too much adulation in the process, for him ever to decline to see them where he could. Jim Jones had chosen his counsel well.

When the holocaust started, on November 18, Lane and attorney Charles Garry were shepherded to a shack on the periphery of the Peoples Temple compound. "We're all going to die," the armed guard gleefully announced.

Lane's back was up against the wall. In the distance, over the camp loudspeaker system, Jim Jones could be heard exhorting his minions to drink up. "If we die," Lane asked the guard, "who will tell the story?"

The guard's ears perked up.

"If you kill us," Lane continued, "there will be no one left to tell of the glories of Jonestown."

The guard lowered his weapon, opened the door and pointed to the jungle. Lane dashed out. He was free to tell another ghost story.

Listener Beware

Since the holocaust last November, Lane has eagerly immersed himself in the subsequent controversies. He has been the counsel and media chaperone for Terri Buford, the young Berkeley journalism dropout who was Jim Jones' treasurer and trusted underling. His book on Jonestown, based on Buford's recollections, insights and purloined files, as well as his own, is scheduled for fall publication. And his whirlwind, coast-to-coast lecture tour, entitled "The Jonestown Horror: An Eyewitness Account," visited almost as many college campuses this past semester as spring fever.

Lane's line on Jonestown is essentially this: the suicidal lunacy of Jim Jones was a fact concealed from Congressman Leo Ryan by the State Department and the CIA, who feared the mass defection of this socialist utopia to the Soviet Union. With skillful suggestiveness, Lane elaborates: "We will get the truth about Jonestown and when we do, I hope we do not discover that someone in the U.S. State Department said, 'We can't have 1,000 poor women and blacks defecting to the Soviet Union; we can't have such a propaganda nightmare.' I hope we do not find that someone in the State Department said, 'Better let them die in the jungles of Guyana.' "

Booked at $2,750 per lecture, Lane delivered some 40 such programs.

Lane's financial boom with the Guyana issue has rankled the media like never before. There have been editorials calling him a ghoul, a scavenger and a graverobber; an investigative profile on the front page of the Sunday New York Times, a wholesale attack in Esquire, a spread in Newsweek.

Nasty as this new invective has been, Lane has not been significantly injured by it. During his years in the limelight, he has developed a sado-masochistic relationship with the media that is perversely perfect in its capacity to satisfy both partners. Lane loves to see his name in print, to watch his face on the screen, to hear his voice over the airwaves. Hating him as they do, the media can't help but vilify him in the only way they know how—in print, on the screen, across the airwaves.

And oh, how he makes the press rail and blather. Tom Snyder got so angry at Lane's Guyana routine during his Tomorrow show appearance, that when Lane switched the subject by insisting that the public has the right to know who killed President Kennedy, Snyder reflexively challenged, "Why Mark? Why do we have the right to know?"

Perhaps aware that names don't seem to hurt him, two agencies of the law may be attempting to take up sticks and stones. The New York Bar Association has received a formal complaint regarding Lane's Guyana-related activities, centering on The Washington Post's claim that he kept secret his knowledge that Rep. Leo Ryan's party was being fed drug-laced sandwiches. The complaint could lead to disbarment proceedings against Lane. Also, the Los Angeles Office of District Attorney confirms that a criminal investigation is being conducted into the circumstances under which Lane was paid $7,500 by the Peoples Temple to kill a derogatory National Enquirer story.

It is highly doubtful that these charges can be, or even should be, made to stick. Lane's ethics are no worse than those of hundreds of lawyers-—he's just more effective.

Already, he is turning these attacks to his advantage. When quizzed by a student about the sums of money he has made in the service of good causes, Lane snapped, "You're asking that because Walter Cronkite and other reporters you probably respect have asked it, and it's all because the CIA , told them: 'Find out how much money he makes.' " (The FBI did, in fact, attempt a flurry of COINTELPRO operations against Lane in the mid-'60s.) Similarly, when asked by a reporter about the sex-photo incident, Lane now retorts, "Those are the same sort of stories the FBI circulated about Dr. King."

Any move the government makes against Lane is almost guaranteed to validate and enhance the self-portrait he so loves to paint—a committed radical ceaselessly sniped at by nefarious agents opposed to his heroic quests. Because the establishment genuinely does oppose the causes Lane represents, it is ill-suited to silencing him.

Lane is finally a product of and a problem for the Left. So long as activists heed only the short-term goals of acquiring attention and creating debate, Mark Lane may unfortunately be the best man for the job. Once he has the job, there's no way to stop Lane from plundering the attendant P.R. treasures. And then, of course, there's no way to stop the media from using him as an easy foil. Probably the Left's only safeguard against the likes of Mark Lane is the old and difficult task of building a movement.

Bob Katz is a founder of the Assassination Information Bureau and is completing a novel about boxing and vaudeville in the Prohibition era.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jan. 1979 New York Times

January 2, 1979, New York Times, Soviets Said to Return Cult Funds; $7 Million in Bequests Reported,
January 6, 1979, New York Times, Data on 'Sensitive' F.B.I. Inquiries Reported Found in Guyana Ruins; 200-Page Manuscript Prepared,
January 8, 1979, New York Times - AP, 631 Cultists' Bodies Wait in Delaware Base Hangar,
January 10, 1979, New York Times, Around the Nation; Six Censured for Cremating Bodies of Guyana Cultists,
January 10, 1979, New York Times, Incompetency Ruling Asked For Founder of Synanon,
January 21, 1979, New York Times, Interview- The Rabbi Leader of the Anti-Cultists, by James Feron,
January 21, 1979, New York Times, Practices of Cults Receiving New Scrutiny; Cults in America First of a Series, by Nathaniel Sheppard Jr. and Jo Thomas,
January 22, 1979, New York Times, Some in Congress Seek Inquiries on Cult Activities; Cults in America Second of a Series, by Nathaniel Sheppard Jr. and Jo Thomas,
January 23, 1979, New York Times - UPI, Paper in Guyana Asks An Inquiry Into Cults,
January 23, 1979, New York Times, Church Leaders to Quit California for a 'Haven',
January 23, 1979, New York Times, Many Find Coercion in Cults' Holds on Members, Cults in America, Last of three articles, by Nathaniel Sheppard Jr. and Jo Thomas,
January 25, 1979, New York Times - UPI, Foster Care Linked to Jones Cult,
January 29, 1979, New York Times, F.B.I. Reportedly Has Evidence Of Plot to Kill Cultists' Relatives,


January 2, 1979, New York Times, Soviets Said to Return Cult Funds; $7 Million in Bequests Reported,

January 6, 1979, New York Times, Data on 'Sensitive' F.B.I. Inquiries Reported Found in Guyana Ruins; 200-Page Manuscript Prepared,

January 8, 1978, New York Times - AP, 631 Cultists' Bodies Wait in Delaware Base Hangar,

January 10, 1979, New York Times, Around the Nation; Six Censured for Cremating Bodies of Guyana Cultists,

January 10, 1979, New York Times, Incompetency Ruling Asked For Founder of Synanon,


January 21, 1979, New York Times, Interview- The Rabbi Leader of the Anti-Cultists, by James Feron,


January 21, 1979, New York Times, Practices of Cults Receiving New Scrutiny; Cults in America First of a Series, by Nathaniel Sheppard Jr. and Jo Thomas,


January 22, 1979, New York Times, Some in Congress Seek Inquiries on Cult Activities; Cults in America Second of a Series, by Nathaniel Sheppard Jr. and Jo Thomas,

January 23, 1979, New York Times - UPI,  Paper in Guyana Asks An Inquiry Into Cults,

January 23, 1979, New York Times, Church Leaders to Quit California for a 'Haven',


January 23, 1979, New York Times, Many Find Coercion in Cults' Holds on Members, Cults in America, Last of three articles, by Nathaniel Sheppard Jr. and Jo Thomas,

January 25, 1979, New York Times - UPI, Foster Care Linked to Jones Cult,
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI)--The Rev. Jim Jones of the People's Temple cult had an estimated 150 foster children under his care, and at least one of them died at his Guyana camp, a Senate subcommittee was told today.


WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (AP)--The Federal Bureau of Investigation has transcripts of radio messages from Jonestown, Guyana, apparently telling members of the Peoples Temple in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown to kill 10 relatives of temple members, The Washington Post reported in Monday editions.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Milwaukee, the Missouri, and the Montreal -- Choo, Choo...

November 23, 1978, Milwaukee Sentinel, page 1, Sect Member Charged in Massacre at Airstrip [Continued page 7]
November 23, 1978, Milwaukee Sentinel / AP, page 9, Cults Thirst for Donations Insatiable,
November 24, 1978, The Southeast Missourian, page 1, Cult death count may reach 800,
November 27, 1978, Milwaukee Journal, Part II, AP-UPI Photos: page 6, Survivors, Bodies Return,
December 8, 1978, The Montreal Gazette / UPI, page 7, Jonestown survivors facing another ordeal,

Not only were the deaths in Jonestown 80-90 percent black and female, an age bias also shows itself. But then again, old people aren't good at dribbling and hoops.

AP / Cult survivor Paul McCann, escorted by federal agent at airport.

Robert Stroud, 20,
John Raphael Cobb, 18,
Thomas Beikman, 21,
Clifford Geig, 18, 
Paul McCann,

December 8, 1978, The Montreal Gazette - UPI, page 7, Jonestown survivors facing another ordeal,

NEW YORK -- (UPI) -- For survivors of Rev. Jim Jones' last cyanide-laced test of loyalty in Guyana, returning home is an ordeal of government interrogations and building new lives.

"The only consolation I have is that my mother really cares about me. It's the only thing that keeps me going," a visibly shaken Robert Stroud said yesterday as he left a modest airport hotel to fly home to his mother in Idaho.

For half of his 20 years, Stroud had been a People's Temple follower. He was in Georgetown for treatment of a leg problem when his wife died in the mass suicide-murder at Jones' steamy jungle commune Nov. 18.

For nine hours after his arrival in New York Wednesday, Secret Service and FBI agents questioned him "extensively and intensively" -- especially about Jones' alleged communal security force, he said.

"They didn't slap us around, but some lady yelled at me, he said. "She told me that I would have to spend the rest of my life in jail."

Stroud and 10 others face hours more questioning today before a San Francisco federal grand jury investigating the slaying of California Congressman Leo Ryan.

"I have nothing to hide," cult member Paul McCann told FBI agents who met the group at Kennedy airport.

Because they are penniless, the New York City Department of Social Services using normal HEW repatriation program funds -- provided them with plane fare.

Among those being questioned will be 21-year-old Thomas Beikman, whose father is jailed in Georgetown for allegedly slashing the throat of a People's Temple follower and her three young children.

Beikman's mother and brother died in Jonestown while he was in Georgetown for treatment of an injury. Since birth, he has been a member of Jones' cult. He has never known another way of life.

"I'm very happy to be back home even though it's quite an ordeal," he said. "But now I've got to get a new lease on life."

The survivors chronicled the deterioration of Jones during his last months.

"I was satisfied with Jonestown because we were missionaries building something good," said Beikman. "...Until the last months, that is. Then Jim got sick. He was slurring his words and it is possible that [he] was taking drugs. He was very snappy with us."

John Raphael Cobb, an 18-year-old member of the commune's basketball team, agreed, saying Jones "went bad at the end."

"He was a generous and sweet person, but maybe in the last six months, he was changing. He got pretty sick. His decisions weren't the best at times.

"Nobody took his practice suicide rituals seriously. He did it to test people," Cobb recalled, then put his hand to his head and chocked back tears.

He lost eight relatives in Jonestown, including his mother and sister.

"It ended in death, but the beginning was a pleasure," remembered 18-year-old Clifford Geig, who flew home to his father in Nevada.

"I lost 900 friends, a brother and three cousins...I am bitter because it was horrible. Jonestown was a nice place but Jim Jones wreaked it -- he killed everybody"

November 27, 1978, Milwaukee Journal, Part II, page 6, AP-UPI Photos: Survivors, Bodies Return,

A member of the Peoples Temple community in Jonestown, Miguel De Pina, 84, was escorted to a commercial airliner at Georgetown's International Airport Sunday by his grandson, Michael Woodward, a Long Beach, Calif., policeman. De Pina, who was in a Georgetown hospital at the time of the slayings, is the first surviving member of the sect to return to the United States. Woodward went to Georgetown to see his grandfather home safely.

Lower: Jonestown took overy of over 900 bodies from the mass murder-suicide.

Upper right: Guyanese police assisted Hyacinth Thrush, 76, of San Francisco, from the Park Hotel in Georgetown to the airport for a return flight home, The elderly woman had been in a Georgetown hospital at the time of the Jonestown tragedy.

UPI Photo; The housing area of Jonestown was cleared of all bodies over the weekend

UPI Photo; Hyacinthe  Thrush, 76, one of the few survivors of the Jonestown tragedy

A US soldier rested against a stack of coffins at the Georgetown airport in Guyana this weekend. The plastic in the foreground covers the last of the bodies flown out of the Jonestown settlement for shipment to the United States.


November 23, 1978, Milwaukee Sentinel / AP, page 9, Cults Thirst for Donations Insatiable,


November 23, 1978, Milwaukee Sentinel, page 1, Sect Member Charged in Massacre at Airstrip [Continued page 7]


November 24, 1978, The Southeast Missourian, page 1, Cult death count may reach 800,

Basketball Players, John Cobb, the Fourth Son of Jim Jones to Live

Jonestown's [half] basketball court, May 1979

What is the "Guyanese National" basketball team? It's not affiliated with a school or university. There are no professional basketball leagues in Guyana, or commercial sponsors. The closest I can come up with in my imagination would be the equivalent to an Olympic team.

February 4, 2008, San Francisco Magazine, My Name is Jim Jones, by Pamela Feinsilbe,

In their different ways, Jimmy and Lew remained loyal to the end. In September, Jones sent Jimmy to work with his dedicated agent in Georgetown, Sharon Amos, to help cultivate good relations with the government. For a time, Yvette was there, too. On October 1, Jimmy turned 18, and they married; he remembers thinking, "It doesn't get any better than this." Now pregnant, Yvette wanted to stay with him, but he sent her back to Jonestown to be with her sister. At the time, it seemed like what a committed socialist would do, putting his own happiness aside for the community.

Pamela Feinsilbe you FUVKING CUNT! You will burn in hell,

By then, the Concerned Relatives had interested liberal U.S. representative Leo Ryan in making a "fact-finding" visit to Guyana. Two months later, he was preparing to fly there with 14 of the relatives, two lawyers, a news crew, and two of his aides (one of them now state senator Jackie Speier) when Stephan, Tim, and six others left Jonestown to join Jimmy in Georgetown. The brothers had arranged a basketball tournament with Guyana's Olympic team. The first game took place on November 13, and, completely outmatched, the Jonestown team lost by 30 points. When Ryan arrived, on the 15th, Jones ordered the group to come back. Even Stephan and Tim failed to grasp how dangerously irrational their father had become. After their miserable showing, the team members had been training as hard as they could, and, speaking for the group, Stephan refused to leave.

The Jones sons met Ryan that evening in Georgetown. Jim says they were excited he was there. "We thought, ‘This will clear up all the issues if people want to leave.' Then we could go on with what we were trying to create." Later that night, [the 15th] the second basketball game took place, and this time, Jimmy's team lost by 20 points. Ryan and some of his group took a tiny chartered plane to Port Kaituma, six miles by boat from Jonestown, on the 17th. That night, as Ryan's group ate dinner in the open-sided pavilion, entertained by singers and the Jonestown band, the basketball team was playing its third game in Georgetown. Jimmy was the center, and his rebounding skills helped keep the game close. Eventually, the team lost, but this time, it was by only ten points. Exhilarated, they radioed their father about the game, but his mind was somewhere else.

The next day, November 18, when most of the players were at a movie, a radio transmission came in from Jonestown. Something was going to happen, Jones told Jimmy. He had sent his "avenging angels" after Ryan's group to make sure "the persecution" didn't continue. At the airstrip, Ryan, three members of the press, including Greg Robinson of the San Francisco Examiner, and the woman leaving with her family were shot and killed. At Jonestown, the colonists again heard Jones calling, "Alert! Alert! Alert!" over the public-address system. Once they had gathered at the pavilion, he told them, "They won't leave us alone. They're now going back to tell more lies, which means more congressmen, and there's no way, no way, we can survive."

Hello. yes, I'm calling to arrange a pickup game---no, on second thought, make that a full regulation tournament basketball game

---yes, and with extra cheerleaders on the side---We'd like to play the Guyanese National team, which is my shorthand way of saying your Olympic team, the one you'll be bringing to the London games in about 30 years....How do I know that? Well, "If you do not remember the past, then you are condemned.... ....yes, I'll hold....Oh shit

Yes, It will be me and my 3, 4, or 5 brothers, depending on how you count "brothers," and a couple of buddies..and....yes, well, we're all 18 and 19. about half of us are only 5'6" What? We're too young to even make your freshman team? What? My arrogant privledge oreo white ass?

Nylon shuttlecock? Do I play shuttlecock? Oh! Y o u w a n t t o l i e o n m y n i g g e r c o c k !!!

September 14, 2006, sdsu, Jonestown Security,
January 16, 2007, San Francisco Chronicle, Building His Own Legacy: The grandson of Jim Jones is one of the Bay Area's top prep athletes, by Will McCulloch,
October 2, 2007, aolsports, Grandson of Cult Leader Jim Jones Prepares for College Basketball Career, by Michael David Smith,
October 4, 2007, USA Today, ESPN examines Jones Jr.'s tale, by Michael Hiestand,
October 5, 2007, San Diego Union-Tribune, Rising above tragic legacy, by Hank Wesch,
October 6, 2007, St. Petersburg Times, Basketball saved him from the Jonestown massacre, by Tom Jones,
October 6, 2007, St. Petersburg Times, Behind the story, by Tom Jones,
October 6, 2007, San Francisco Chronicle, Jonestown nightmare, hoop dreams, by Steve Kroner,
November 22, 2007, The Los Angeles Times, Grandson attempts to rebuild family's name, by Robyn Norwood,
December 24, 2007, Sports Illustrated, Escape From Jonestown: How basketball gave life to a son and grandson of the infamous cult leader Jim Jones, by Gary Smith,
February 4, 2008, San Francisco Magazine, My Name is Jim Jones, by Pamela Feinsilbe,
May 16, 2008 [1st web capture] ESPN The Magazine, Writing about the Jonestown Basketball Team by Wright Thompson,


What has become of my height and weight chart? Some of this guys are tall and athletic, but about half are 5'7" in hightops.John Raphael Cobb

18 B M Basketball team FBI document 89-4286-1207

Mark Nathan Cordell
19 W M Basketball team FBI document 89-4286-1207

Calvin Douglas
19 B M Basketball team FBI document 89-4286-1207

Marion Lee Ingram
1 33 B M Basketball team coach 2 FBI document 89-4286-1207

Jones Warren Jones, Jr.
1 18 B M Basketball team FBI document 89-4286-1207

Johnny Jones, aka Johnny Moss Brown Jr.
28 B M Basketball team FBI document 89-4286-1207

Lew Eric Jones 21 A M FBI document 89-4286-1207

Stephan Gandhi Jones

Timothy Glenn Tupper Jones

John Raphael Cobb
19 W M Basketball team FBI document 89-4286-1207

Timothy Borl Jones 19 B M FBI document 89-4286-1207
18 W M Basketball team FBI document 89-4286-1207

JONES, James Warren, Jr. (Jimmy) 18
[Jones, John Cobb, see COBB, John Raphael] 18
JONES, Stephan Gandhi 19
JONES, Timothy Glenn (Day) Tupper (aka Timothy Glenn Tupper) 19
BOGUE, Thomas James (Tommy) 17
CANNON, Henry, Jr. 18
WILSON, Burrell Dernardo 18
JONES, James Warren, Jr. (Jimmy) 18
COBB, John Raphael (aka John Cobb Jones) 18
Jones, John Cobb, see COBB, John Raphael
GIEG, Clifford 18
DOUGLAS, Calvin (aka Calvin Douglas Williams) 19
CORDELL, Mark Nathan 19
JONES, Stephan Gandhi 19
JONES, Timothy Glenn (Day) Tupper (aka Timothy Glenn Tupper) 19
CARTER, Michael Julien 20
NEWELL, Herbert 20
STROUD, Robert Homer (Bobby) 21
BEIKMAN, Thomas Charles (aka Thomas (Tom) Kutulas) 21
SMITH, Eugene Erskin 21
WILLIAMS, Walter L. 21
O'NEAL, Christopher Keith 21
BARNETT, Carl Henry 22
NEWELL, Cleveland, Jr. 23
WADE, Preston 23
SIMON, Michael Angelo 23
TOUCHETTE, Michael Jon (Mike) 25
MITCHELL, Guy Edgar 25
GOSNEY, Vernon Dean 25
BLAKEY, George Philip (Phil) 25
CLAYTON, Stanley Roy 25
McCANN, Paul 27
BROWN, Stephanie (aka Stefanie Morgan) 10
GARDFREY, Dawn Francine (aka Dawn Mitchell) 15
SCHEID, Dianne Elizabeth (aka Dianne Casanova) 15
MITCHELL, Linda (aka Yolanda Denice Mitchell) 18
BAGBY, Monica 18
WAGNER, Leslie (aka Leslie Monique Fortier Wilson) 21
WALKER, Andrea Yvette (aka Andrea Yvette Martin)21
TSCHETTER, Robin Faye (aka Robin Stahl) 21
BOGUE, Juanita Jane 21
BOGUE, Teena May (aka Teena Turner, Tina Turner) 22
TOUCHETTE, Deborah Ruth (Debbie) 23
LOUIE, Diane (aka Diane Clark, Diane Louie Lund, Diane Louie Rozynko) 26
ADAMS, Paula 29

The "Elites" Speakers Bureau,

Terri Buford was in Peoples Temple for seven years (1971-1978). She lived in Jonestown for the better part of a year in 1977 and 1978.  She defected from the Temple three weeks before the massacre. [to go live with Mark Lane in Memphis. I bet she killed KENNEDY!] She can be reached through this website. Her writings on this website appear here.

I can't decide if I want to hear the killer speak or the slut speak? Oh pearls of wisdom---choke my windpipe and help me decide! I know! I'll fuck the killer and I'll decide what to do with Bufart later!
Tim Carter lived in Jonestown and escaped on the final day. Several articles by Mr. Carter appear here. He can be reached

John Cobb lived in Jonestown but was with the basketball team in Georgetown on the final day. He can be reached at

Laura (Johnston) Kohl was a member of Peoples Temple in California and in Guyana.  She lived in Jonestown but was working in Georgetown on 18 November. She can be reached at A short biographical video clip appears here. Information about her bookJonestown Survivor appears here. Her articles on this website appear here.

Jordan Vilchez became a member of Peoples Temple as a teenager when her family joined. She was in Georgetown, Guyana on November 18, 1978, but her sisters and nephews died in Jonestown. She was on the Planning Commission and is familiar with many inner workings of the organization. She can be reached at Her articles on this website appear here.

Mike Touchette was among the original pioneers who built Jonestown. He and his wife were in Georgetown on November 18, but several family members died in Jonestown: His articles on the website appear here.

Eugene Smith joined Peoples Temple in 1973 and lived in the Temple's San Francisco commune before leaving for Jonestown in fall 1977. He was in Georgetown on November 18 clearing items from customs. Numerous members of his family – including his mother, wife, and infant son – died in Jonestown. He can be reached at eugene.e.smith@gmail.comHis articles on this website appear here.

Basketball as a Life-Saver and Inspiration by Jon Fish,

May 16, 2008 [1st web capture] ESPN The Magazine, Writing about the Jonestown Basketball Team by Wright Thompson,

(ed. note: In early October, ESPN aired a documentary piece about Rob Jones, the eldest son of Jim Jones Jr. and his wife Erin. Rob now attends the University of San Diego, where he has a basketball scholarship. Jon Fish is the producer of the ESPN piece.)

Sports are often overlooked as part of a story especially one of this magnitude. For ESPN it was very important to keep the story on sports and the role it played in Jonestown and now in Rob Jones’ life. For us the story became clear: basketball saved one generation and is making a star out of the next.

We were very lucky that Jim Jones Jr., Stephan Jones, and John Cobb opened up their stories for us. You can see now when Rob soars on the basketball court, it means so much to his family and friends.

As Rob goes forward in his collegiate basketball career, it is nice that Jim Jones Jr. can move forward in life as the father of Rob Jones.

A longer story written by Jon Fish and Chris Connelly on appears here.

A story about an ESPN writer's feature article on the entire Jonestown basketball team appears

Other stories about Rob Jones include:

Let's be real. All of you certainly know what next year is. A Significant Anniversary. You’re familiar with the routine, I’m sure. The phone will ring one day soon, and it will be the first in a legion of reporters, asking the same questions many of you have heard in 1983, and in 1988, and in 1993, and in 1998, and again in 2003. I'd also like to apologize in advance for any of the people in my industry who might treat you like a story and not a person. That’s wrong. Always has been. Always will be.

Because so many people are going to call, I’d like to explain why the story I’m doing is different than any other that’s been done.

We all know that there have a million words written about Jonestown. But there has never been a story written solely about the basketball team. I’d like to change that. I’d like to write a story about the men who played on the team, about the games and the days in between, about starting the team, about the importance of rebelling – even just a little bit – and about what the game has meant since leaving Guyana.

It’s a story about the importance and power of sports.

My name is Wright Thompson. I’m a senior writer for and ESPN The Magazine. I was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. I’m putting together a story about the Jonestown basketball team, and I would like to talk to as many people who are familiar with the team – especially players and coaches – as possible.

Some of you might be familiar with a story that my colleague Jon Fish produced for ESPN TV about the basketball career of Rob Jones, the son of Jim Jones, Jr., who himself played on the Jonestown basketball team. Jon and I were in contact the entire time he worked on his piece. It was an excellent story, but for me, it serves as a point of departure to what I want to do. Instead of focusing on one player, mine will tell the stories of all the team members. It will examine who they were, what their role in Jonestown was, what they’ve done with their lives since, and what they took away with them, both as former members of Peoples Temple and as members of the basketball team. I plan to travel to Guyana sometime after the rainy season ends in January 2008. My piece will be an E-Ticket (the name we’ve given to our long form narrative non-fiction) and will run in November on

I was drawn to this story after listening and reading as so many of you shared your experiences, about your desire that people not forget your friends and family members who did not make it home. Those words touched me and, since I work for a sports publication, I was drawn to this particular aspect of the story. It’s an important and under-told aspect.

My questions? Most will revolve around two broad themes: what it was like to play basketball there and what it's been like since you left. I don't want to cause anyone any pain or disrupt any lives. If you don't talk about that part of your past to your family and friends, I can preserve your anonymity, if that makes you more comfortable sharing your story. I want this to be a positive experience for anyone who chooses to speak with me.

Over the next few months, I will be reaching out to those of you who were on the team. If any of you would like to ask me any questions about this story, or about anything else, please e-mail me at or call me at 816-260-0305.

If anyone who wasn't on the team has memories or stories they’d like to share, please contact me as well. That would be incredibly helpful.

(Wright Thompson is a Senior Writer for The Magazine.)

January 1981, McGraw-Hill, The children of Jonestown, by Kenneth Wooden, Pages: 238

Speakers Bureau - Jonestown

John Cobb lived in Jonestown but was with the basketball team in Georgetown on the final day. He can be reached at Vernon Gosney left ...

"Writing about the Jonestown Basketball Team" by Wright Thompson
But there has never been a story written solely about the basketball team. I'd like to change that. I'd like to write a story about the men who played on the team, ...

Jonestown Security - Alternative Considerations of Jonestown ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
that the basketball team was considered by other Jonestown residents to be ... Nevertheless, we have noted the members of the basketball team here as well.

"Basketball as a Life-Saver and Inspiration" by Jon Fish - Jonestown
A story about an ESPN writer's feature article on the entire Jonestown basketball team appears here. Other stories about Rob Jones include: Building His Own ...

What Messages are Behind Today’s Cults?, by Philip Zimbardo, PhD diigo

Summary : Q 161
Jones talks about his past as a basketball player, and gives the team various ... (It should be noted that the members of the basketball team survived the deaths ... 

Looking Back At Some Of The 1977 Opportunity High ... - Jonestown
Wes also played on the Jonestown basketball team, but did not go to the tournament in Georgetown with the team that day in November 1978. Mark Sly. Mark at ...

856-915 - Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

And Then They Were Gone Nears Completion - Jonestown
Tim and Jim were on the baseball team I coached – although Jim didn't play in ... all three brothers were on the Jonestown basketball team that saved their lives.

by Raul Kohl - Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples ...
As reports were created concerning all aspects of community life, the Jonestown basketball team left to face a Guyanese team in their first tournament. Although ...

Excerpts from A Sympathetic History of Jonestown by Rebecca Moore
Jim ordered the Jonestown basketball team back to the community. The team had gone to Georgetown to play the Guyana National Team. But the young men ...

And Then They Were Gone Portrays Lives of Temple ... - Jonestown
Ron was the baseball coach for the team the Peoples Temple kids played on, with some of those players going on to become part of the Jonestown basketball ...

"Murder vs. Suicide: Individuals and the Collective" by ... - Jonestown
I don't know how much we talked about this, but you know it started with the guys on the [basketball] team. Whether or not people liked me, they knew they could ...

Peoples Temple in the News - Jonestown
The University of San Diego Toreros men's basketball team upset the heavily- favored University of Connecticut Huskies in the opening round of the NCAA ...

Jonestown Tragedy Touches 'Normal' Family - Alternative ...
Many high-level members and even his basketball team/security squad were ... With the basketball team in Georgetown to play in a tournament that fateful ...

The Courage of Dissent - Jonestown
For example, Stephan built a basketball court in Jonestown against his father's ... his son and the rest of the basketball team to return to Jonestown post-haste.

Timeline: And Then They Were Gone - Jonestown
November 6, 1978: The 14-man Jonestown basketball team, cheered on, ... November 12, 1978: The first basketball game between the Jonestown team and the ...

The Architecture Of Jonestown and How It Both - Alternative ...
In early November 1978, the basketball team went into Georgetown, Guyana to participate in a basketball championship. On November 15, 1978, Congressman ...

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

Oprah! - Jonestown
... Jonestown and believes he might have been able to stop the deaths on November 18, had he been there instead of with the basketball team in Georgetown.

Was Jonestown an armed camp?
The members of the Jonestown basketball team who were in Georgetown the weekend of the deaths were all assumed to be part of security. The members of ...

Summary Q381
Joseph “Reds” Perreira, who is “in charge of all sports activities for Guyana,” is expected as a Jonestown guest the next day, and the basketball team is expected ...

Back to the Arts Section - Jonestown
Writing about the Jonestown Basketball Team by Wright Thompson. C. Music. 1. Jonestown “Home Movie” Footage Leads to Creating Audio Based on Death ...

"30 Years of Silence" by Kimberly Dutra Arvold - Jonestown
Finally, word came that my husband, who was on the basketball team, had survived and was coming home. There was hope. Sadly, after about four years of ...

"Remembering Bobby Stroud" by Phyllis Marley - Jonestown
Bob agreed, knowing he'd have plenty of company, because Stephan and Jim Jr. were already there as part of Jonestown's basketball team to play in a national ...

Transcript Q050
We don't, we didn't, we didn't uh, seek his- I said that, I said that, that he's coming in, he's coming in. He said he met our basketball team, he said he could see ...

Transcript Q210
“Reds” Perreira will be however, getting clearance either this week or the first of next so the basketball team want– be sure to know and be sure to realize that he ...

Peoples Temple in the News - Jonestown

An article by Jon Fish, the producer of the ESPN piece, as well as links to other coverage of Rob Jones, his parents, and the Jonestown basketball team, ...

Who Could Have Stopped The Deaths In Jonestown? - Alternative ...
The basketball team – with Stephan, Jimmy, Johnny and others – was in Georgetown for a previously-scheduled tournament. Joyce Parks was in Venezuela ...

PROKES, Jim Jon (Kimo)
If only you had been older maybe you would have been able to tag along with the basketball team on that day. Who knows what your legacy may have been.

Irises - Jonestown
They had crushes on the boys on the basketball team. Yes, they were fictional, but from all the research I did on Jonestown I knew it was based on nuggets of ...

"The Demographics of Jonestown" by Rebecca Moore - Alternative ...
Dec 17, 1978 ... About one-quarter of the survivors were black males, several of whom were members of the community's basketball team, in Georgetown that ...

Transcript Q381
The basketball team should do their very best to be in good shape. That will be the schedule. Then, after the– you're on your full Russian classes and– uh, the ...

“The Path to Forgiveness” by John V Moore - Jonestown
Stephan and the basketball team had been in Georgetown, Guyana when men from Jonestown assassinated Congressman Ryan and the mass murder/suicide ...

The Deaths of Two Daughters: Grieving and ... - Jonestown
There was evidence of play and education, as well as hard work: Jonestown boasted a basketball team, a rock band, and evenings of laughter and song, ...

Summary Q212
He points out that the visitors will be looking at the basketball team and the Jonestown band – he adds the karate team to the list later on in the tape – and says ...

Drinking the Kool-Aid - Jonestown
On the contrary, they describe the positive qualities of corporate loyalty or team spirit. For example, when Michael Jordan, a former Chicago Bulls basketball ...

For The People - Jonestown
Although he did try: running to the American Embassy in search of aid, enlisting the help of his basketball team members, and returning to the camp- just in time ...
Summary Q050
He has menaced one woman with hints of his knowledge of her personal life, Jones says, but his meeting with the Jonestown basketball team o?

Places, Activities, Structure mentioned in Journal
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Albatross (large trawler). Port Kaituma. Sports Teams. Tractor & trailor. Mathews Ridge. Basketball. 2 old army trucks. Georgetown karate team.

Jonestown As a Reflection of American Society - Alternative ...
Despite the impending visit, Jonestown continued to look into the future; the " basketball team was looking forward to its scheduled match in Georgetown" and the ...

1912-1979 - Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Role in PT: Basketball Team, Security Force. Reason for being considered dangerous: Two people interviewed describe BARNETT as being dangerous. (W ...

"Jim Jones and the History of Peoples Temple" by ... - Jonestown
The Peoples Temple basketball team, including Jones' sons Jim Jones Jr. and Stephan Jones, was playing a game away from Jonestown on the day of the ...

... Bob was in Guyana's capital city Georgetown with Stephan and his brother, Jim , Jr., who were on the Jonestown basketball team playing in a tournament.

Rave Reviews
We have a basketball team now and we're forming a soccer team. An official saw Cordell Neal and told dad that he looked like he could be the next lightweight ...

A Temple Member's Odyssey - Jonestown
She sent me to get the basketball team to come back to the house because she had to speak to them – primarily Stephan, as I recall her saying. I went out to the ...

Transcript Q400
I can't emphasize– over-emphasize that the karate team, the basketball team, the musical renditions and the Marxist-Leninism that you could do amongst ...
Eyewitness Identifications? - Jonestown
In fact, the only two that tall were Stephan Jones, in Georgetown with the whole not-even-as-tall basketball team at the time of the tragedy; and Jim McElvane, ...

Transcript Q217
And it's a definite thing, it's a door we should keep open, that's why the band that must work hard, the basketball team also, we're giving them the alternative of ...

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

“The Many Meanings of 'Revolutionary Suicide'” by ... - Jonestown
His son, Stephen Jones – who was in Georgetown with the Jonestown basketball team during Ryan's visit – believes that if the mass suicide had not occurred, ...

And Then They Were Gone: Children of Peoples - Jonestown
What follows is another excerpt about the formation of the team.) ... She comes to our games, football or basketball or track or whatever, and she roots for us, ...

Art and popular culture notes - Jonestown
... in Georgetown for a basketball tournament, appeared on Oprah in early May. ... The Jonestown Massacre has also loaned its name to an inline hockey team ...

Transcript : Q 161
Um— Anything we can endear ourselves with a team like archery, for instance. ... good class, and a cooperative class, or you're not going in for basketball.

Q 384 – Jones Speaking
But it looks very, very positive, and we will let you know the moment on the ( stumbles over words)— the musicians or the basketball team, they prove to be ...

Pieces of Jonestown - Alternative Considerations of Jonestown ...
... crafts at local markets and competed in basketball tournaments in Georgetown. ... I spoke with this 75-year-old man who had led the team that cleared the land ...

Letter to President Carter from Jonestown - Alternative ...
... fishing, swimming, soccer, basketball courts and teams and all kinds of musical opportunities in singing and dancing. With a constructive life to lead, alienation ...

Chapter Eleven - Jonestown
They left the fallen trees to dry for months, then ran through in teams of two, ... is giving you a hard time in the classroom, try “giving the bad kid the basketball.

Drinking the Kool-Aid: A (Partial) 2012 Directory - Jonestown
In the course of a conversation with basketball player Lee Lark, the ... This means for the team to play hard every practice and every game, in order to get ...

Drinking the Kool-Aid -- A (Partial) 2007 Directory - Jonestown
[New Jersey Nets basketball star Vince Carter] is 13 for 34 (.302) in this series. ... For a team that won just three games in 2006, this squad certainly doesn't ...

Agricultural Mission: Jonestown, Guyana 1978
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Sports Teams. Basketball. Karate. Programs/Groups. Soul Stepper. Misfits. Apostolic Choir. Diane Wilkinson. Coordinator: Bob Christian. Drafting &. Engineering ...

M-1 Letters from PT - Alternative Considerations of Jonestown ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
at building good will -- every night the mission team is on the band ...... winds, where there is abundant wild life, fishing, swimming, soccer, basketball courts ...

Index by Authors
Thompson, Wright, Writing about the Jonestown Basketball Team, JTR 2007 v9, 8. Arts Section, B. Books & Articles. Tomas, Joel, Q 875, The "No More Mystery" ...

Index by Titles
Basketball as a Life-Saver and Inspiration, Fish, Jon, JTR 2007 v9, 03. ...... Writing about the Jonestown Basketball Team, Thompson, Wright, JTR 2007 v9, 8.


May 14, 2012, Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple

Who Survived the Jonestown Tragedy?

The following is a list of Peoples Temple members who were in Guyana on 18 November 1978 and who survived the deaths in Jonestown, Georgetown, and the Port Kaituma airstrip.

There are 87 individuals on this list. Those who are known to have died or who are presumed to be dead – because of their age at the time – are listed in red type. (These names also appear at, along with obituaries and remembrances for many of them.) Other names by which the survivors were known appear in lower case. Nicknames – often the names by which they were known in Jonestown – appear in parentheses after the given names.

Most of the people on this list were on survivors’ lists printed in newspapers and/or prepared by the FBI and State Department in the weeks following the mass deaths. Other names appeared on lists prepared at the time by Laura Johnston and Jim Randolph. Since then, numerous people in addition to Jim and Laura have provided us with more information. We are especially grateful for the assistance of Don Beck, Tim Carter, and Denice Stephenson.

If you know of any changes that need to be made, either of additional survivors or of people known to have died, please contact us by email at, or by mail to Fielding McGehee, 3553 Eugene Place, San Diego, CA 92116.

This list was prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. The complete list of survivors was first uploaded on 10 February 2008. If you use this source, please credit the following: Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple, Thank you.

ADAMS, Paula 29

BAGBY, Monica 18

BARNETT, Carl Henry 22

BEIKMAN, Charles Edward (Chuck) 43
BEIKMAN, Thomas Charles (aka Thomas (Tom) Kutulas) 21

BLAKEY, George Philip (Phil) 25

BOGUE, Edith Elizyabeth 39
Bogue, Harold, see CORDELL, Harold
BOGUE, James Ernest (Jim) (aka Jim Morrel, Jim Murrel) 46
BOGUE, Juanita Jane 21
BOGUE, Teena May (aka Teena Turner, Tina Turner) 22
BOGUE, Thomas James (Tommy) 17

BROOKS, Madeleine 73

BROWN, Stephanie (aka Stefanie Morgan) 10

CAMPBELL, Marion Anthony 61

CANNON, Henry, Jr. 18

CARTER, Michael Julien 20
CARTER, Timothy James 30

Casanova, Dianne, see SCHEID, Dianne

CASANOVA, Mary Ann Scheid 37

CLARK, Richard 41

Clark, Diane, see LOUIE, Diane

CLAYTON, Stanley Roy 25

COBB, John Raphael (aka John Cobb Jones) 18

CONNESERO, Versie Lee (aka Versie Perkins) 32

CORDELL, Harold (aka Harold Bogue) 41
CORDELL, Mark Nathan 19

DAVIS, Grover Cleveland 78

DE PINA, Miguel 84

DOUGLAS, Calvin (aka Calvin Douglas Williams) 19

EVANS, Julius Lee 30
EVANS, Sandra 30
EVANS, Sharla 7
EVANS, Shirelle 5
EVANS, Sonya 11

FRANKLIN, Johnny, Sr. 33

GARDFREY, Dawn Francine (aka Dawn Mitchell) 15

GIEG, Clifford 18

GODSCHALK, Raymond O., Jr. 62

GOSNEY, Vernon Dean 25

Grubbs, Bea, see ORSOT, Bea


INGRAM, Marion Lee (Mickey) 33

JANARO, Claire Elaine 39
JANARO, Richard Mario 51

JOHNSON, Ruby Neal Williams Johnson 56

JOHNSTON, Laura Reid 31

JONES, James Warren, Jr. (Jimmy) 18
Jones, John Cobb, see COBB, John Raphael
JONES, Stephan Gandhi 19
JONES, Timothy Glenn (Day) Tupper (aka Timothy Glenn Tupper) 19


Kutulas, Thomas (Tom), see BEIKMAN, Thomas Charles

LAYTON, Laurence (Larry) 32

LOUIE, Diane (aka Diane Clark, Diane Louie Lund, Diane Louie Rozynko) 26

Lund, Diane, see LOUIE, Diane

Martin, Andrea Yvette, see WALKER, Andrea Yvette

McCANN, Paul 27

Mitchell, Dawn, see Dawn GARDFREY
MITCHELL, Guy Edgar 25
MITCHELL, Linda (aka Yolanda Denice Mitchell) 18
Mitchell, Yolanda Denice, see Linda MITCHELL

Morgan, Stefanie, see BROWN, Stephanie

Morrel, Jim, see BOGUE, James Ernest

Morton, Beatrice Alethia, see ORSOT, Bea

Murrel, Jim, see BOGUE, James Ernest

NEWELL, Cleveland, Jr. 23

NEWELL, Herbert 20

O’NEAL, Christopher Keith 21

ORSOT, Bea (aka Bea Grubbs, Beatrice Alethia Morton) 52

PARKS, Brenda 18
PARKS, Dale 27
PARKS, Edith 64
PARKS, Gerald 45
PARKS, Joyce 32
PARKS, Tracy 12

PAUL, Robert 33

Perkins, Versie, see CONNESERO, Versie

PROKES, Mike 31 (Shot himself in March 1979)

PURSLEY, Joan 21

RHODES, Odell 36

RODRIQUEZ, Aurora 53

Rozynko, Diane Louie, see LOUIE, Diane


SCHEID, Dianne Elizabeth (aka Dianne Casanova) 15

SIMON, Michael Angelo 23

SMITH, Eugene Erskin 21

Stahl, Robin see TSCHETTER, Robin Faye

STROUD, Robert Homer (Bobby) 21

SWINNEY, Helen Beatrice 65

THRASH, Hyacinth 76

TOUCHETTE, Charles E. (Charlie) 48
TOUCHETTE, Deborah Ruth (Debbie) 23
TOUCHETTE, Michael Jon (Mike) 25

TOWNES, LeFlora 56

TSCHETTER, Robin Faye (aka Robin Stahl) 21

Tupper, Timothy Glenn, see Timothy Glenn (Day) Tupper JONES

Turner, Teena, see Teena May BOGUE
Turner, Tina, see Teena May BOGUE

WADE, Preston 23

WAGNER, Leslie (aka Leslie Monique Fortier Wilson) 21

WALKER, Andrea Yvette (aka Andrea Yvette Martin) 21

Williams, Calvin Douglas, see DOUGLAS, Calvin
WILLIAMS, Walter L. 21

WILSON, Burrell Dernardo 18
WILSON, Jakari Lafayette 2

Wilson, Leslie Monique Fortier, see Wagner, Leslie

YATES, Johnnie Mae (Nedra) 54

Young, Carol Ann see YOUNG, Carolyn
YOUNG, Carolyn (aka Carol Ann Young) 78

May 14, 2012, Address by Jim Cobb, diigo,

November 7, 2011, Jonestown Apologist Alert, Bracing For A Grim Anniversary And, Now, With A Mass Murderer On The Memorial, diigo,

November 18, 1978, Jonestown Community, "Suicide Tape Transcript", by Mary McCormick Maaga,

May 10, 2011, Oakland Tribune, Jonestown memorial finally installed in Oakland's Evergreen Cemetery, by Angela Hill, diigo,

Jonestown memorial dedication allowed to proceed - SFGate
May 26, 2011 – Jim Jones Jr., the adopted son of Jim Jones (R) and John Cobb, who lost ten relatives in the Jonestown tragedy, look over the Jonestown

Judge Denies Bid to Stop Jonestown Memorial - San Leandro Patch
May 12, 2011 – John Cobb, a member of the Jonestown Memorial Fund who lost 10 family members, including his mother, in the mass suicide, said he ...

 (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, file)

In this May 12, 2011 file photo, Jim Jones Jr., the adopted son of Jim Jones (left) and John Cobb, who lost 10 relatives in the Jonestown tragedy, stand near a Jonestown memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, Calif. Jones Jr. says the inclusion of his father's name among the others is about representing the truth of what happened on Nov. 18, 1978. "Our memorial removes individual opinions and makes it factual," Jones Jr. said

Sandy Yvette Cobb

Birth: Nov. 16, 1956
Marion County
Indiana, USA
Death: Nov. 18, 1978
Jonestown, Guyana
Also known as Sandy Cobbs, Sandra Yvette Cobb, Sandra Yvette Cobb Jones, and Sandy Jones. She lived in San Francisco, California 94107 before moving to Jonestown, Guyana where she lived in Cottage 29. She was employed as a Lab technician and had Secretarial skills. She entered Guyana on March 29, 1977. She was on the Jonestown Planning Commission; Medical staff; and Radio room. Daughter of Christine Cobb aka Elois Christine Young, and Elois Christine Cobb. Daughter of Jim Cobb, Sr.; Stepdaughter of Guy Young; Sister of Ava Brown aka Ava Phenice Jones, Ava Cobb; Brenda Carole Cobb, Joel Raymond Cobb, Johnny Cobb aka John Raphael Cobb, John Cobb Jones, Mona Young aka Ramona Lamotha, Mona Cobb; Jim Cobb; and Terri Cobb. Partner of Timothy Tupper aka Timothy Glenn Tupper Jones, and Tim "Day" Jones. She adopted Monyelle Maylene Jones. Records lists birthdate as 11/15/1956 while PT records say birthdate is 12/16/1956.

Family links:
Christine Cobb (1928 - 1978)

Monyelle Maylene Jones (1978 - 1978)*

*Calculated relationship

Evergreen Cemetery
Alameda County
California, USA
Plot: Jonestown Memorial

Created by: Natalia Danesi
Record added: Oct 26, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 30887095

March 19, 2013, Associated Press / Art Daily, Nearly 200 Gather to Dedicate Jonestown Memorial,

Jim Jones Jr., the adopted son of Jim Jones, left, and John Cobb, who lost ten relatives in the Jonestown tragedy, stand near a Jonestown memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 12, 2011. A woman who lost 27 relatives in the 1978 Jonestown tragedy is waging a legal battle against a California cemetery over a memorial to the 918 victims that includes the name of Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones. The Rev. Jynona Norwood appeared Thursday in court in an attempt to block further construction and use of the memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu. OAKLAND, CA (AP)

Nearly 200 people gathered at Oakland's Evergreen Cemetery on Sunday to dedicate a newly completed memorial to the victims of the 1978 mass murder and suicide at Jonestown, Guyana, organizers said. The afternoon ceremony came after a judge last week denied a motion seeking to block further use of the monument at the cemetery, where more than 400 unidentified and unclaimed victims are buried in a mass grave. The $45,000 monument, which consists of four large granite slabs embedded in the ground and etched with the names of the dead, has sparked controversy because it includes the name of Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones among the 917 other people who died. "People from around the country came to be here," said Fielding McGehee, who edits the online Jonestown Report and who lost in-laws in the violence. "It was a beautiful day and everything that we hope for all came together," he said. Jones' adopted son, Jim Jones Jr., has said the memorial represents the truth of what happened on Nov. 18, 1978, in Guyana. "It was a great moment to sit back and see it all come together and come to fruition," Jones told The Associated Press by phone after attending the ceremony. "What I really appreciated and felt real joy in that everybody talked about healing. The theme was healing, and that excited me." Jynona Norwood, a Los Angeles minister who lost 27 relatives at Jonestown, filed a lawsuit May 12 against Evergreen Cemetery, its president, Buck Kamphausen, and its director, Ron Haulman, accusing them of violating an agreement with her for an alternative memorial that would not include Jim Jones' name. In ruling against a preliminary injunction, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert McGuiness said Thursday that denying access to the memorial would cause substantial harm to those who wish to gather there to honor the victims. After more than 32 years of waiting for a proper memorial, any further delay "would continue to expose the victims and families of Jonestown to a continuing paralytic state of inaction," the judge wrote. Norwood has said previously that the new memorial, built at a cost of $45,000, sends a message that "it is OK to honor a mass murderer." She compared including the name of Jones to having the name Osama bin Laden on a Sept. 11 memorial. "Where does it end when you talk about Jim Jones, a mass murderer," she said by phone Sunday. "What are people coming to when he is honored? U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan of California, three newsmen and a church defector were ambushed and killed on a remote jungle airstrip by temple gunmen while visiting Jonestown on a fact-finding mission to investigate reports of abuses of members. Jones then orchestrated a ritual of mass murder and suicide at the temple's nearby agricultural commune. The ruling Thursday settles only part of Norwood's legal challenge. Her lawsuit also seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Attorneys for both sides are scheduled to confer with McGuiness by phone Tuesday to set a settlement conference date. Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.