Serial 1835

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 1835 of the FBI’s RYMUR release.

[The name of nine-year-old Temple member Stephanie Jones was deleted from this serial. It was included in the State Department release, and has been indicated by red type.]

UNCLASSIFIED FBB 580

UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 04496 012251Z

[Listing of agencies receiving informational copies on pdf]

R 011255Z FEB 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8884
UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 0496
E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: CARR (BEIKMAN, CHARLES), (JONES, STEPHAN), (PEOPLE’S TEMPLE)
SUBJ: W/W ARRESTS: STEPHAN JONES AND CHARLES BEIKMAN
REF: GEORGETOWN 0497

1. During preliminary inquiry on January 30 into deaths of Linda Sharon Harris (a.k.a. Sharon Amos) et al, Magistrate Persaud ruled that under relevant case law and Guyanese statutory law nine-year-old [Stephanie Jones] was not competent to give sworn testimony, either under oath or affirmation. Persaud said she could not be instructed in God prior to taking an oath because she does not believe in God. Persaud concluded that [Stephanie] could give evidence in court, but that her testimony would have to be unsworn.

2. Two persons gave testimony at the January 30 session. A police corporal testified that he searched Jim Jones’ Jonestown residence on December 5, 1978 and found a note signed by Beikman pledging loyalty to the People’s Temple leader. Detective Assistnt Supt. Lam was recalled by the prosecution to give additional testimony. Lam was cross-examined by Senior Counsel Rex McKay.

UNCLASSIFIED
UNCLASSIFIED
PAGE 02 GEORGE 00496, 012251Z

3. Inquiry is scheduled to resume February 1, on which date Magistrate Persaud is expected to give his ruling on the admissibility of Beikman’s statement to the police. [Prosecuting Counsel Carlton] Weithers said in court that he expects to conclude the state’s case on February 1.

Burke [John Burke, American ambassador to Guyana]

Originally posted on August 3rd, 2020.

Last modified on July 17th, 2022.
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