Jan 29, 1979 • 1746 • Georgetown-State • 0450

[Editor’s note: Agencies receiving informational copy on PDF.]

P 291746Z JAN 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8856
UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 0450

E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: CARR, GY (JONES, STEPHAN) (BEIKMAN, CHARLES) (PEOPLES TEMPLE)
SUBJ: W/W ARRESTS, STEPHAN JONES; CHARLES BEIKMAN
REF: GEORGETOWN 0386

1. TWO PERSONS TESTIFIED ON JAN 25 AT THE PRELIMINARY INQUIRY INTO THE DEATHS OF LINDA SHARON HARRIS (A.K.A. SHARON AMOS) ET AL. LEE INGRAM RELATED WHAT HE SAW ON THE EVENING OF THE MURDERS AT THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE HEADQUARTERS IN GEORGETOWN. A POLICE SERGEANT WHO TOOK SEVERAL STATEMENTS FROM RESIDENTS OF THE HEADQUARTERS ALSO TESTIFIED.

2. NINE-YEAR OLD STEPHANIE JONES, WHO WAS WOUNDED ON THE EVENING OF NOV. 18, WAS THEN QUESTIONED BY PROSECUTOR CARLTON WEITHERS IN COURT TO DETERMINE IF SHE IS COMPETENT TO GIVE TESTIMONY. SENIOR DEFENSE COUNSEL REX MCKAY AFTER THE QUESTIONING WAS COMPLETED, CONTENDED THAT JONES CANNOT GIVE TESTIMONY BECAUSE SHE ADMITTED THAT SHE DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD. WEITHERS RECOMMENDED TO MAGISTRATE PERSAUD THAT SHE BE “INSTRUCTED” ABOUT GOD, SO THAT AN OATH COULD BE ADMINISTERED TO HER. MCKAY OBJECTED THAT THE STATE DID NOT HAVE THE POWER TO SO INSTRUCT HER, SINCE IT WOULD BE AGAINST HER WILL. PERSAUD SAID THAT HE WOULD RULE ON THE MATTER ON JAN 29. (JONES IS CONSIDERED TOO YOUNG TO UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF PUNISHMENT, AND THUS CANNOT MAKE AN AFFIRMATION.)

UNCLASSIFIED
UNCLASSIFIED
PAGE 02 GEORGE 00450 29207Z

3. AT THE START OF THE SESSION, WEITHERS COMPLAINED TO THE COURT THAT MCKAY, AS WELL AS MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE “CULT,” BEFORE COURT STATED THAT THEY HAD OBSTRUCTED ATTEMPTS BY THE PROSECUTOR TO REFRESH THE MEMORY OF A WITNESS. MCKAY ADMITTED THAT HE HAD DONE SO, BECAUSE WEITHERS WAS IMPROPERLY COACHING WITNESSES IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHER WITNESSES. MAGISTRATE PERSAUD THEN STATED THAT THE DIFFICULTY WAS CAUSED BY THE ABSENCE OF CONFERENCE ROOMS IN THE COURT BUILDING, AND ADJOURNED COURT FOR SEVERAL HOURS TO GIVE WEITHERS TIME TO REFRESH THE MEMORIES OF WITNESSES IN THE PROSECUTOR’S CHAMBERS.

4. INQUIRY WILL RESUME ON JAN. 29. PERSAUD SAID HE WOULD GIVE HIS DECISION ON THE ADMISSIBILITY OF BEIKMAN’S SECOND STATEMENT ON THAT DATE, INSTEAD OF ON JAN 27, AS ORIGINALLY ANNOUNCED. (REFTEL).

DWYER

Originally posted on October 21st, 2020.

Last modified on November 15th, 2020.
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