Serial 2733

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION
INFORMATIVE NOTE

Date: 9/25/86

Re: RYMUR;
MAJOR CASE 16;
00:SAN FRANCISCO

On 11/18/78, Congressman Leo J. Ryan was murdered in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, by Lawrence [Laurence] John Layton and others. Layton was charged by Guyanese authorities with the attempted murder of three individuals he shot. He was found not guilty.

In 1981 Layton was indicted and tried in the Northern District of California for violation of Title 18, USC, Section 351 (D) – Conspiracy to Murder; Section 351 (A), 2 – Aiding and Abetting the Murder of a Congressman; Section 1117 – Conspiracy to Kill an Internationally Protected Person; Title 18, USC, Section 1116 (A), 2 – Aiding and Abetting this Attempted Murder of Internationally Protected Person. This trial resulted in a mistrial.

On 9/18/86, retrial of Layton commenced in the Northern District of California. Witnesses will be called from Guyana. It is anticipated that the trial will last for approximately two months. The United States Attorney for San Francisco, Joseph P. Russoniello is personally conducting the prosecution of Layton.

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R 220335Z SEP 86
FM SAN FRANCISCO (89A-250) (P)
TO DIRECTOR (89-4286) ROUTINE
BT
UNCLAS
ATTENTION: PERSONAL CRIMES UNIT
RYMUR: MAJOR CASE 16; 00: SAN FRANCISCO

Purpose of this teletype is to summarize and update captioned matter.

On November 18, 1978, members of the People’s Temple agriculture mission, Jonestown, Guyana, South America, attacked and killed Congressman Leo J. Ryan at Port Kaituma airstrip, Guyana, South America. Congressman Leo J. Ryan was traveling with entourage of media people, and US citizens to include Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Dwyer, American Embassy Georgetown, Guyana. Subject Lawrence John Layton acting in concert with others of the People’s Temple attacked and killed Congressman Ryan and others.

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PAGE TWO SF 89A-250 UNCLAS

Assault also resulted in the gunshot injury to Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Dwyer (an internationally protected person under United States law). Lawrence John Layton was arrested at Port Kaituma airstrip. Other members of the assault team returned to Jonestown and died as result of the suicide murders at the hands of Reverend Jim Jones by administering poison. Layton was subsequently charged by Guyanese authorities and tried for the attempted murder of three individuals whom he was accused of personally shooting. Layton was found not guilty for lack of evidence. Lawrence Layton the only surviving member of the assault team was charged in United States District Court, Northern District of California, via authorized complaint and subsequently four count indictment as follows.

Violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 351 (D) – Conspiracy to Murder; Section 351 (A), 2 – Aiding and Abetted the Murder of a Congressman; Section 1117 – Conspiracy to Kill an Internationally Protected Person; Title 18, USC, Section 1116 (A), 2 – Aiding and Abetting this Attempted Murder of Internationally Protected Person.

In 1980, Layton was expelled from the country of Guyana and

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PAGE THREE SF 89A-250 UNCLAS

transported to the Northern District of California. In 1981, Layton was tried in the Northern District of California, San Francisco, California, which resulted in a mistrial. Since that time numerous appeals have been made to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concerning evidentiary admissibility of governments exhibits. Governments appeals to the 9th District was successful in all aspects with the exception of “the last hour tape” which is a recording of the last hour in Jonestown narrated by Reverend Jim Jones.

Retrial of Lawrence Layton commenced on September 18, 1986, and will include two weeks to obtain a jury and approximately one month trial for the prosecution and approximately the same amount of time for the defense. Case will include numerous witnesses from Guyana, South America, as well as FBI Lab and Special Projects. (Witnesses will be subject of separate teletype).

Prosecution of Larry Layton is being conducted personally by the United States Attorney Joseph P Russoniello.

BT

Originally posted on November 18th, 2020.

Last modified on November 29th, 2020.
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