Transcriber’s Note: Both parts of the ABC News press conference tape may be viewed directly through the ABC VideoSource Archive here: ABCNEWS VideoSource (Search 20P725A for Part 1; 20P725B for Part 2)
Alternatively, the first part may be viewed on YouTube here: (27:34; press conference begins at 5:50) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt2EIcAY3vw
This press conference that took place in the days following November 18th features Stephan Jones—the sole surviving biological son of Jim Jones—who managed to survive as he and the rest of the Jonestown basketball team were in Georgetown during the Jonestown mass suicides. The woman seated to the left of Stephan Jones is Temple Lamaha Gardens administrator and secretary, Paula Adams. To the right of Stephan Jones is Lee Ingram, the Jonestown basketball team coach. Additionally, Charles Krause—a Washington Post journalist who visited Jonestown and survived the Port Kaituma shootings—is present among the crowd of reporters and asks multiple questions. Temple attorney Mark Lane also makes an appearance in the crowd but is not heard on this tape.
Some of the questions asked to Stephan include: his relationship with his father; the guns located in Jonestown; his mother, Marceline; the conditions in Jonestown and Lamaha Gardens; the members who survived; Sharon Amos; the continuation of Temple activities; “inner circle” members; Jones’ ideologies; rumors of hitmen, among other questions.
Due to the microphone being positioned towards the front of the room, many of the reporters’ questions are unintelligible or inaudible. However, the general context of the questions is noted or can be understood. Please also note that due to the many camera cuts in the ABC tape, this transcript does not cover the entirety of the press conference. Again, due to many of the reporters’ being somewhat unintelligible, the reporters are not specified in this transcript; however, questions that are believed to have been asked by Charles Krause are noted.
An alternate MSNBC clip from the press conference may be viewed here: News Conference With Stephan Jones After The Jonestown Massacre
TAPE 1 (22:14): (Search 20P725A on ABC VideoSource)
Stephan Jones: (Talking into mike; audio is not captured for the first thirty seconds) —Trying to build and uh—I just—like I said before all I was saying is that there’s no reason to hide it. I mean like uh I for one came way down here—uh regardless of what I (Unintelligible) I didn’t necessarily like it all the time but I didn’t like it, you know, when I was in the States all the time either. And uh—what does it matter you know, it’s—there’s so many good things happening—
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question likely in regards to the presence of guns in Jonestown ) —Killing and uh
Stephan: I knew that two shot guns who tried to get licensed for them. We did get licensed for them and we’re trying to get licenses for others, and I never knew if these licenses came through.
Reporter: How many guns were there altogether?
Stephan: Uh all that I knew of—were uh—at the moment I think—I think I knew for sure of—I saw three. And—and I was reasonably sure that they were licensed. And uh I—you know—
Reporter: You knew nothing of the cash (Unintelligible)
Stephan: No. I did not.
Reporter: Why was it necessary for your father to have approximately a million and a half dollars uh in the uh cash and um—gold and um—cheques?
Stephan: It was—I don’t see how it could be necessary at all and I don’t know anything about it and if it’s—made me more aggravated that you know, there could of been a lot more for you know, a lot of people—with you know, if that money would have been used.
Reporter: You know uh—were you familiar with the term “White Night”?
Stephan: Yes I was. It was—
Reporter: What have you done with those people who escaped—will not be in fear or harmed by the remnants of the Peoples Temple? (Unintelligible) Are there anything—are there any extremist elements? It seems to me that since this was a headquarters that certain tried and true men would be here, that some of these people might well be (Unintelligible) —supposed to escape, because some of them were pursued into the jungle (Unintelligible).
Stephan: I—I understand what you’re saying and I am worried that they will think that, and we haven’t been able to do much of anything, we’re kind of isolated. And uh, I’m trying—I can assure you that I really am trying—I want to get through these people because I do want to help them because I feel a lot of guilt that I didn’t you know uh—although I didn’t really see any way that I could stop it without causing you know, something—something to happen. I was trying—I didn’t see it you know—
Reporter: Were you in radio contact with Jonestown from Lamaha Gardens?
Stephan: Excuse me?
Reporter: Were you in radio contact with Jonestown from Lamaha Gardens?
Reporter: How did you know what was happening?
Reporter: (Unintelligible) —Call from—from Jonestown?
Stephan: I know that she [Sharon Amos] was taking traffic. And uh I was gone at the time when I came back and uh—she had done it. People ran out to me and told me what had happened.
Reporter: Were there a lot of people in the house?
Stephan: Yes. But they had you know—I mean—you can’t expect people to think that somebody’s going to take their—their—these children were beautiful. I can only describe them as beautiful. And you can—no way we could of imagined that she would take them up and do what she did. I mean, you know. I—they were there—God would you have imagined it? Could—could you uh—
Reporter: Is this Maria Katsaris we’re talking about?
Stephan: No. No. Sharon Amos—with her children.
Reporter: Maria Katsaris apparently killed uh John Vincent Stoen and uh—Kimo Prokes—the two children who lived with your father?
Stephan: I don’t—I don’t—I didn’t know that.
Lee Ingram: Is this information you’re giving us—giving us now—is this fact? We’ve not heard—
Stephan: All we know about is what’s come over the news here.
Reporter: Did John Timothy Stoen live with your father and mother in Jonestown, physically in the house?
Stephan: Uh my mother did not live with my father. She lived—she lived separately. And uh, Kimo and John lived up there with him and uh no—we were led to believe—and I don’t care if they were or not I love them very much, but we were led to believe that they were uh you know, his sons. You know on one side and there’s no way—I was not a witness to the sexual act so there’s no way I could know. But all I can say is that uh—I love them very much. They were like little brothers to me cause I you know—I never had a little brother, you know. My little brother is two years younger than me and he’s bigger than I am. And uh, I tried as best as I could to care for them and give them the fatherly attention that they never got.
Reporter: (Unintelligible) The thing is—Blakey, gave the deposition in California and the Stoen custody case— she testified at that time was admitted to court hearing in Guyana that Maria Katsaris had one time given these two children sleeping pills before she did want to kill them when they were awake so that it would be easier when she killed them—if they were ever came a time she’d have to kill them like apparently like what took place that night. Is that beyond your realm of comprehension?
Stephan: I didn’t know that. I didn’t—I mean I can only tell you that you know, I mean these are like if you had two little sons—Timmy and uh—I would’ve never stood for that, and they knew I wouldn’t, and anybody who’s out there knows that it was a conflict between me and—and my dad, and anybody directly involved with him, you know. And you know, it was a very tight situation. I would’ve never stood for that if I would’ve known that happened.
Reporter: You indicated that your mother was a fairly strong-willed woman who was completely and rationally aware of your father’s condition. (Unintelligible, cars in background)—Even suggest that in the last moment of—mother, mother, mother—that there might have been an argument going on at the last act of both their lives. And yet she apparently—excuse me for— you know—I understand that you’re grieving with what you’ve been through—but she apparently (Unintelligible)
Stephan: Like I said before—the only thing—reason she told me many times because you know, she had been hurt many times, you know, and we all have because of what we believed in and everything but the only reason she lived was for me, and myself, and my brothers. And uh all I can think is that you know, she thought that we’d, you know, we were gone.
Lee Ingram: I can only say to that—to that—to his question there—(Brief tape cut)—pardon (Unintelligible saying from a reporter)—it was intermittent—intermittently, and had it been I would not have known because I wasn’t there that often to know if it was or not. But had you know—because there might not of been and there had been intermittent communication—she might had assumed that all was lost here, you know. If there had been any communication you know, that she—and his dad were going to kill themselves.
Reporter: How many people were left here?
Paula Adams: Forty-six.
Reporter: How many were there on the basketball team?
Stephan: Uh eleven are basketball players, and we have a trainer and a coach.
Reporter: Is it true that the basketball team was in fact the group that was trained to—to be the marksmen for Peoples Temple?
Reporter: It’s not true?
Stephan: No it’s not.
Reporter: It’s not true that the basketball team practiced with the thirty or forty weapons and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition that were found?
Stephan: If we had practiced with these weapons and if we were the ones you know, designated to do this, why would we be sent to town?
Reporter: (Unintelligible; equipment clacking in background, question is referring to a conflict between Stephan and Jim Jones)
Stephan: It could be. I—I don’t know. I know that I came—I wanted to play basketball. I wanted—I wanted to prove we could leave and I wanted—I felt we were good. And uh, I wanted to play.
Reporter: Steve, how many of your members are being detained at Lamaha Gardens and how many by the government (??), and at some other facilities?
Stephan: Well I think that all of us that are here are being detained. You know that were in the Jones—Georgetown house when this happened, and it’s about forty-six. I have a list—I have a list of—
Reporter: —Of the Georgetown house—?
Stephan: Excuse me?
Reporter: Of the Georgetown house right?
Reporter: Every forty-six people in the Georgetown house?
Stephan: That’s right.
Reporter: No one as far as you know is being detained in the police headquarters?
Stephan: I don’t know anything that’s going on.
Reporter: (Reporters talk over each other) Is it true Steve that—
Stephan: Excuse me?
Reporter: Do you think that the conflict with your father would of resulted in your death?
Stephan: Uh no. I think he was scared of me.
Stephan: I can’t say. I—I don’t want to make any—
Reporter (Charles Krause?): Your father’s illness by any means was not terminal illness? He did not think he was going to die? Did he talk about his death from the course of his health reasons and drugs and everything?
Stephan: He talked about, you know, everything. I mean he’s—
Reporter (Charles Krause?): Specifically that. I mean—did he think he was dying then?
Stephan: Uh I don’t know. He said he did. I don’t know if he really thought—
Reporter (Charles Krause?): (Unintelligible)
Stephan: I don’t know that. He had—he listed a number of illnesses you know, and I’m no doctor.
Reporter (Charles Krause?): Did Schacht treat him?
Stephan: Yes. But I would say that he treated himself, you know.
Reporter: What were some of the illnesses that he— (Unintelligible)
Stephan: There was no—I know he claimed trouble with his heart. Uh—uh I can’t think of the—low blood sugar, high blood sugar—I don’t know which it was uh—
Reporter (Charles Krause?): What did your father think about you and your position as his kid? (??) (Unintelligible) Was he frightened of that— (??) (Unintelligible)
Stephan: Yeah. Right.
Reporter (Charles Krause?): (Unintelligible; question is likely in regards to how Jim Jones perceived Stephan)
Stephan: Uh he claimed he was afraid of nothing, which I know is—bull. He’s a very frightened man. Uh he claimed uh—that—I don’t know—he had no ego, which is the total opposite. He had one of the biggest egos I’ve ever seen in my life. Uh—but I think he was—that’s another reason why I felt he was—he did so much I felt he was—he feared for his life so much that he would never do anything like this.
Reporter (Charles Krause?): Steve, isn’t it true that it was discussed among the top leadership that um if this should come to pass, some people from Jonestown uh (Camera pans towards Charles Krause and other reporters) would then go—some people who were decided to have lived would go to the States to uh kill the—certain people who were on a list of enemies of the church? (Camera pans back towards Stephan Jones)
Stephan: As I said before—he never really let me in on the decision-making because I was—I guess what you might say too contrary, you know. I believed in doing what we were doing at the time and uh—leave all this—
Reporter (Charles Krause?): Have you heard any stories to this event?
Stephan: Uh—no. I mean, no.
Reporter (Charles Krause?): You never heard that?
Reporter: (First part of question unintelligible) —Who was making the decisions here?
Stephan: Uh when I say the decision-making I mean in the total working of the—the—the compound, right, you know, different facets of it like agriculture, you had construction, you had uh you know, in medical. You had everything and uh there was you know, departments—department heads—and there was heads of that—it was like a little government and uh—
Reporter: Has the government of Guyana informed you or indicated to you your status? Has anyone indicated any possible criminal charges pending?
Stephan: No they haven’t.
Reporter: Or deportation?
Stephan: No they haven’t.
Reporter: They’ve just asked you questions and you’ve tried to—
Reporter (Charles Krause??): Steve, how close was your father to Mr. Reed?
Reporter (Charles Krause??): Mr Reed.—vice mayor—of Guyana.
Stephan: I don’t know. He complimented the man many times. Uh—
Reporter (Charles Krause??): And your father saw him from time to time in Jonestown?
Stephan: Not in Jonestown. I don’t even know that. I was rarely in Georgetown. (Asking Paula Adams) Did he meet?
Paula Adams: (Camera zooms in on Paula) He had met with him. But uh—and I was present at those meetings and I can say at those meetings he presented Peoples Temple as what Peoples Temple stood for—non-violent, racially equal, economically equal, socially equal, and a community that was basically built to be. And at that time that he presented himself he presented it as parts of Peoples Temple—and not the insane aspect of his personality.
Reporter: Steve, I don’t know the circumstances (Unintelligible)—It seems almost impossible in Guyana for a foreigner to get land.
Stephan: I didn’t know there wasn’t—I didn’t know that.
Paula: There’s—there’s not such a large lease. The lease was three-thousand acres I believe. And—
Stephan: Considering the landmass here—
Paula: No—no—it was not. It was not. It was not twenty-thousand because I was uh directly involved with the lease. It was set on a basis of um—like uh—I forget the word—(Reporters chatter). You know if—if we needed more land, it could be developed instead of having to drive ten miles up a road, you know. It was—it was designed so that if the farm spread in such a way, that it could be used. But it was not leased to us this way.
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question pertaining to the Jonestown land lease)
Paula: Well it was an option that it was the government that determined whether we would own it.
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question likely asking about activities and leisure in Jonestown)
Stephan: There were uh, get-togethers. You know, one of my (Unintelligible) you know everybody kind uh—did their thing, you know.
Reporter: Like what for instance? What would you do at these get-togethers?
Stephan: Singing. Uh we had performances. Uh you know we had a good band and uh—
Reporter (Charles Krause??): Steve, wasn’t it true that most nights your father would (Unintelligible) from nine-o’clock until two, three in the morning until everyone finally got tired? Basically all the people had to come to the pavilion and listen to him talk, talk, talk, talk—
Stephan: He required a lot of uh you know, teaching—not necessarily from him, but different classes you know. We uh—current events, you know we had—
Reporter (Charles Krause?): Wasn’t it true that people seventy and eighty-years-old were forced to sit up half the night listening to this—and if they fell asleep there were security guards who would come over with a gun or with a—
Stephan: No. No, that’s not true. It’s true that there were times where people were kept up till uh unheard of hours, you know. And uh—it makes it sound like I condone it. (??) I didn’t uh—you have to put yourself in my spot, you know. What am I to do uh—I’m only nineteen years of age and do what—what did Debbie Blakey—I understand why she left. I understand her feelings. But what did she accomplish? Nothing, you know. And I—I was only—I—I wanted to do the same thing she did—stop it. But did she accomplish anything? Did any of the people that have left you know understandably so—but have they accomplished anything?
Reporter : Can you explain why your father was so upset at the possibility of members leaving?
Stephan: No. Cause I said before he had a tremendous ego. (Camera pans away from Stephan and towards Mark Lane)
Stephan: (Tape Cuts)—Felt that we were doing a good thing, you know. Uh
Reporter: Was there a tendency to (Unintelligible) any of the members, which would maybe believe that they may go up and do (Unintelligible)
Stephan: (Camera zooms out from Mark Lane) Uh tendency to violence uh—I know myself (Tape cuts and the camera pans towards the reporters and Stephan)—committing murder, or you know, hurting anyone that not, you know, hurt me. And uh no, I think for the most part—like one thing that was remarkable to me was that the relationship between young men—my age, you know—and in the States it was like, prove yourself, right? And uh here we didn’t have that, you know.
Reporter: But was anybody tried (Tape cuts and camera pans towards reporters) that thing before? (??)
Stephan: There was never any physical prevention. But I can’t say there was an atmosphere there. It was like uh—
Reporter (Charles Krause?): Steve, can you describe the Extended Care Unit? (Camera pans to Stephan)
Stephan: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Reporter (Charles Krause?): Isn’t it true that anyone who tried to leave was caught and brought back and put on drugs for a long period of time?
Stephan: If that is true uh—I didn’t know. I didn’t know about it—I knew a young man that I took care of and cared a lot about—Vincent Lopez uh—at one time—he wasn’t even leaving, I mean he was a young kid—and I’ve done it before—wanted attention, you know. And uh he had no one, and I had said something to him, you know. I had gotten mad with him because he had a lot of bad patterns, you know, that he brought over—a lot of—he stole a lot and stuff. He—he left, you know, and he was brought back—we were all put under the impression that he was sick, you know—that he had been bitten by something. And uh, he was taken to—what we call the Intensive Care Unit—you know people that had high temperatures and stuff like that. And if that happened, you know, I didn’t know about it.
Reporter: (Unintelligible; reporters talk over each other)
Stephan: Excuse me?
Reporter: Was the mail censored?
Stephan: I—I never got any mail. I don’t have that many relatives outside—
Reporter: But I know they used the mailing address of Georgetown for delivery and to get it— (??)
Stephan: No. I—I—
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question is referring to mail censorship)—People say that mail was censored both in and out.
Stephan: I don’t doubt that. But I—I can ensure you sir I do not—I was not in on what happened here. I came here to play basketball and I don’t doubt that there was a lot of—you know, I’m doing the best I can, and I understand your—I understand your problem.
Reporter: Steven (Unintelligible) who physically had control of the passports?
Stephan: I don’t know that. I know that one time George Touchette—uh recorded information, you know, necessary information of who was there, their age, you know, and different things like that so we could you know.
Reporter: On what condition did they come in (??)
Lee Ingram: What do you mean?
Stephan: They flew. They came in—
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question may be pertaining to “documentation”, and the process of the arrival of Peoples Temple members in Guyana)
Stephan: Not that I know of.
Paula Adams?: They all came in on their own—
Stephan: You know, more and more all I can say is that I wouldn’t doubt it. But I can tell you uh—
Reporter (Charles Krause?): You never heard about a tape recording of uh—of an interlude between a Guyanese official in Washington and someone in the Temple? We’ve been told there was—this was something that was pretty well known.
Stephan: I—I never heard that. But I can tell you there was a lot of like uh—he read a lot of books—a lot of books. And I think he tried to live through his books. And he played a lot of games, but I just felt like you know, let him play his little games and you know, just stay away, and I’m going to do what I can and build what I can here. And uh, if he did it I don’t doubt it, you know. There’s a lot of game playing. There’s a lot of unnecessary, you know, stuff done. But uh—
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question cuts to Stephan’s response)
Stephan: —What he has taught me in my mind, in my body, there’s not any kind of thing that I read and I follow, you know, it’s just what I feel, you know. I know when I—I know what I feel that’s wrong and what I feel is right. And I think he knew basically, you know, what was wrong and right. I just think that he became obsessed with his ego, with his power, and there were a lot a women that worshiped him, you know. And uh I think he just thought he was something—
(Tape cuts to Stephan’s response to a new question, likely pertaining to Marceline Jones)
Stephan: She felt very hurt. See this is what originally, you know—many years ago, what separated me and my father cause I loved my mother very much. She’s a very—she was a very loving and understanding person and I think anybody that has encountered her can testify to that. And uh—uh I just think—she knew she had something to do—she was head of the medical department and she was, you know—everybody loved her. And she was just trying to get something done and she knew that if she dwelled on what he did, there was no way you know—I too—there was no way that we could get done that we wanted to—to accomplish. And uh, I think it hurt her, that I think she got over it.
Reporter (Charles Krause?): (Reporters talk over each other) Rhodes said that at the suicide, when Schact played the poison, that these nurses passed out the poison. (??) Were there many nurses up there? Was your mother a nurse?
Stephan: Uh there were many. But my mom was a nurse but she was—like I said it was a government-like-thing and she was the one that was in charge of the medical department, you know. She saw that everyone like—just an example, say someone uh one of our seniors was not well, uh he had a wife, but he had to be moved to an intensive care area and she would make sure that you know—that like, the wife got to move in with him. She—she made sure everything was going smoothly and everybody reported to her uh—
Reporter: Can you please give us (Unintelligible; tape cuts)
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question involves Stephan’s family)
Stephan: I have a mother and father. I have two brothers in town, two adopted brothers, I’m the only natural born. Uh—
Reporter: Are they both younger than you?
Stephan: One’s older, one’s younger. But I mean it’s only—the one that’s older, it’s only a matter of months and uh—
Reporter: Steve, did you know about the black box?
Stephan: What black box? I mean—
Reporter: The black box that Debbie Layton spoke about—that people were put in it for one to seven days?
Stephan: That—that’s not true.
TAPE 2 (20:55): (Search 20P725B on ABCVideoSource)
Reporter: (Unintelligible question)
Stephan Jones: No.
Stephan: Oh you mean that were—at—
Stephan: No. We have no contact, and we were—we—two of us—my—one of my brothers and another good friend had, you know, gone up to identify—
Reporter: We heard of stranglers coming in.
Stephan: Oh yeah.
Reporter: Steve, you explained to us in—this (Unintelligible) purposes—you explained you were here in town at the time of the suicides because of the basketball team—
Stephan: That’s right.
Reporter: What about the other three individuals—what—how—what was the reason that those individuals were not at Jonestown at the time of the uh—
Stephan: (Referring to Lee Ingram) He’s the coach.
Lee Ingram: I’m the coach. I came in with the basketball team.
Deborah Touchette (??): (Camera pans to Deborah) We—all people took turns coming into Georgetown for different things like to be in charge of the medical department, to be in charge of public relations, to be in charge of seeing the people get dental care done. And it was my turn to come—
Stephan: Just like a total administration here. You know, we have to have—maintain contact—we’re isolated out there and people alternate. (Tape cuts)
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question is likely regarding the continuation of Temple activity)
Stephan: Uh, I’m planning to—right now I have no plans other than to see everyone safe and to see everyone get a chance to do what they want to do. Uh as for carrying on work, I know I’m going to go on believing in what I believe in, you know, uh—
Reporter: Steven, will you try to go back out there and play (Unintelligible)—in Georgetown and bring some of your people down from San Francisco again?
Stephan: I don’t see how that would be possible.
Reporter: Who’s in charge of the group in San Francisco?
Stephan: I think, the one I’ve been talking to now is Jean Brown, but as for someone being in charge, it’s not, it’s not that definite of a thing, you know. It’s just a lot of respect between people and you know—
Paula Adams: (Unintelligible)
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question may be pertaining to the reactions of members in San Francisco)
Stephan: How were they reacting? Primarily the same as we are. They’re frightened, you know.
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question likely pertaining to the discipline and the punishments of children in Jonestown )—ropes tied around their bodies? I heard from three independent sources.
Stephan: I know that there was—I know that they used to take uh—uh children down in a—it would be like for discipline you know, (Unintelligible)—they said they just could not uh
Reporter: —From the ages of three to fourteen?
Stephan: I don’t know the ages. But I know that—I never—I know that they would come back and they would be crying and they would be scared and you know.
Reporter: But you don’t know about that well?
Stephan: I know about a well. I know—I know about a well. Uh, I can say that there was, you know, a lot of things I didn’t understand, a lot of things I didn’t agree with. Uh, like I said before, what would you do? I mean, would you uh leave and leave everybody you’ve loved, everybody you’ve lived with all your life and—and accomplish nothing you know.
Reporter: What were some of the things you didn’t agree with? (Unintelligible)
Stephan: I think I’ve said most of them. It’s just, you know. Inconsis—inconsistencies, you know different—with my father especially you know. Uh, I don’t know. I was in a very—
Stephan: I hope to see my people safe.
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question may be referring to the removal of Jim Jones as the leader of the organization)—the time your father was alive (Unintelligible)
Stephan: Uh I had hoped.
Reporter: Did you hope (Unintelligible)
Stephan: I think that’s a bad way of putting it. To uh be able to go on you know, the way things started. You know, building and trying to help people. And uh I know my mother was loved and I think had a lot respect—especially from people in my age group and I just wanted—however I can do it, I wanted to eliminate all of the bull that was going down, a lot of the mess, and just get down to what we wanted to do.
Reporter: Was there any (Unintelligible) in the past year or two that frightened you about the drill—the trend, the way Peoples Temple was going with the leadership? It really—I know you had a father-son friction and tension but was there anything that was like wow, this is scary, this is against the thing in the world we’re trying to do here.
Paula: Before he answers that question—before he can go onto it, but I wanted to say for you know, (Camera zooms in on Paula Adams) let my—let my personal self—as of February, I was—you know when you’re not trusted—and as of February, it was decided that I was no longer trusted because I questioned too many. I was in Georgetown continuously for the first four years that it was developed. I mean the first year that it was not really developed—it was paperwork. And for the first four years I built something I believed in, something I loved, and all of a sudden I was determined untrustworthy because I questioned things. I thought there was too much paranoia, too much overreacting, too little things, and because I would not carry out instructions as they were given, I was transferred to Jonestown. And I have a child there—a two-and-a-half-year-old child—and I couldn’t leave, because if I left I’d leave that child.
Stephan: So you have to—you have to understand—
Reporter in crowd: (Reporters and Stephan talk over each other) Wait, wait.
Paula: I refused to do it. I refused to overreact to—what—Jim Jones considered priceless situations. Now to give you details into the past, I can’t give you details. I agree that if people wanted to leave, let them leave. I mean not everybody, it’s you know—once a community situation, and it’s not designed for every person.
Reporter: (Unintelligible; question may be asking why people couldn’t leave)—Who’s stopping you?
Paula: In that atmospheric situation, you have to realize um—I think there was—much of it was um—relatives were often left in the interior—loved ones were left in the interior. You’ll find almost every person in Georgetown—unless they were there for medical reasons—has a loved one in the interior. And the reason being is you’ll always return, which is true. Can you desert those you love? Can you do something rash and risk those you love?
Paula: I was in San Francisco, yes. (Reporter talking over Paula) Yes. I was in San Francisco only a few weeks ago. And I wanted to say that I believe in Jonestown, not in what Jim Jones was doing to Jonestown, but in Jonestown, I’ll never denounce what Jonestown was to be—it was beautiful community, and other than the atmosphere that existed when Jim Jones—you know, put pressure—it was a lovely place to live. A lovely place to raise children. But when I was in San Francisco—I almost left, I almost left in February, and the only reason I came back were loved ones. (Tape Cuts)
Reporter: What they say that they couldn’t take your child? (??)
Paula: It was passed over the radio and I was given the story by Sharon Amos. I don’t know if it was true or not true. I was told that the grandmother was refusing to let the child out.
Reporter: Do you believe that during the time of your separation from your child, that if you do not conform—conform—something might happen to that child?
Paula: I—I can’t really say that I—I really knew. I mean I’m not saying that it didn’t enter my mind, but I’m not saying I really knew. Cause I really knew—I didn’t realize that—that uh—I don’t think I ever thought anything would really happen. Uh I mean as far—
Reporter: Not even the possibility?
Paula: No. I—I’m saying that the possibility entered my mind. I’m not saying that it didn’t enter my mind. I’m saying that I don’t think—I don’t ever believe it would happen. But I know as a fair warning?? my child has not been allowed to leave.
Reporter: What is your role—what was your role in the Peoples Temple?
Paula: I was one of the secretaries and I was one of the administrators in Georgetown for over four years. And uh—and as I said I questioned what I felt was overreacting and I was transferred immediately.
Reporter: Can you tell us—
Paula: —And—I also want to say I know there was other people that were in the same situation as myself.
Reporter: Where’s your child now?
Paula: Um. (Shakes head slightly)
Stephan: We don’t know anything.
Reporter: Could you— could you tell us who were members of the high-council or were you a member of the high-council?
Stephan (??): No.
Paula: Jim Jones was the high-council.
Reporter: No but he did have a group of people—
Paula: Did he? That’s what I want to know. Is did he? He played everybody against each other.
Stephan: That’s right—
Reporter: It was an organization (Unintelligible)
Paula: That is Jonestown. There was an organization for running the place.
Stephan: —For running Jonestown. There’s a lot of other facets to it that you know. (Camera zooms out and towards Stephan) What you don’t understand is like that he would make—you would tell you you’re trusted. Uh you know I trust you and tell other people you don’t trust you. Everybody thought they were trusted and nobody else was. It was uh—like when I started to interrupt her, I was not trying to cut her off. I was trying to add to it saying that you have to understand our position. We knew that there was something wrong there. But all of those people were my life. All of my nineteen years I’ve known no one else, right. Uh, what am I going to do? You see what’s happened when a few people tried to leave, you know. I didn’t know what could happen. I wanted to protect my people. I wanted to—maybe some way, you know. Also, I’ll say again I didn’t see socialism discredited, or what I believed in discredited. And I felt I didn’t take it as serious—I felt a lot of guilt about that—that I didn’t take it that serious. And I felt that I could, you know, ease him out easily.
Reporter: You saw this as socialist rather than a fascist (Unintelligible)
Stephan: I saw him as—I saw him as—uh—I think you know—if he was at a cross, it was like he came to a crossroads and just picked one. He could of been either.
Reporter: Which one did he go?
Stephan: Well the socialist way. And uh, all of us, I still believe it, and you know, most of us still believe it, you know. Not necessarily socialism, you know, but we have basic—you know, beliefs of what’s right and wrong. Uh I see him as, you know, a fascist, eventually he became— (Points towards Paula)
Reporter: You spoke about overreacting. (Camera zooms in towards Paula) If you say (Unintelligible) or rather, or give a specific example of what you mean by overreacting. How did Jim Jones overreact?
Paula: To uh relatives he wanted—he often asked me to contact, you know, several ministries which I felt were—should not of been bothered with such I mean—he would want letters written. He would want whole—a whole range of contacts made for something that I felt was not—you know it was not anything. It was relatives wanting to visit.
Reporter: Oh? He would try to prevent them from visiting?
Paula: That’s right.
Reporter: How would you therefore accept this community with your child being held as hostage yet you still have this faith in all what you’re doing? It seems completely contradictory.
Paula: I understand what you’re saying but the community itself and the people within the community were very lovely people—very good people. We came together in the United States because we wanted to promote social change, racial equality, and what I can say to the principles of a life, but the community was very nice. I mean the community was truly egalitarian. But—
Reporter: Do you have any set of principles on the way the community operated? (??)
Paula: I would say it was a socialist—oh, you’re talking about like uh?
Reporter: Like uh, a constitution, a charter, any set of rules or?
Paula: No set of rules. It had—it was—it was organized in the sense that recently, within the last four or five months maybe, it was broken down into departments where certain people were in charge of certain areas. Uh you know departmental. And it ran much more efficiently—I would say it also brought in a lot of people into decision-making. And there has been—I want to say there has been no discussion of any White Nights for many months.
Reporter: I would think that keeping your child was some form of coercion. Were you aware of any other forms of coercion employed that would prevent them from leaving?
Paula: I don’t—I don’t agree with the brainwashing thing because I think that still, basically people were wanted to do what they felt principally right to do, you know. And that Jonestown was—we had several hundred children there that were—really had opportunities that they never had before. But I—
Reporter: (Unintelligible) —After all this?
Stephan: I don’t really know. Uh—
Paula: Shock. Who wouldn’t be.
Reporter: You were in the media, I believe it was Thursday night when the Congressman came to the Lamaha Gardens.
Reporter: (Camera zooms out from Paula and back towards Stephan and Ingram) Could you just tell us a bit about what your reaction after the Congressman left was uh (Unintelligible) Was it uh discussed at that time maybe the idea would be to get him up there and kill him at that time or would that (Unintelligible)
Ingram: Well that had never entered my mind about killing him or anyone for that matter. And um—I was very surprised to see Congressman Ryan come that evening. I hadn’t expected him. I don’t think anybody there at the household expected him. And um I just thought that were was things that needed to be clarified and be best clarified if he had, you know, visited Jonestown. (Camera zooms in on Ingram)
Reporter: You were one of the people who thought it would be a good idea for him and—
Ingram: Him and others—him and others to visit—to see what was being done, what had been accomplished.
Reporter: And tell me, when did you—were there any radio communications after the mass suicide began in the house in Georgetown?
Ingram: If there had been, you know, I’m saying they must of— they were either intermittent—
(Tape cuts and the camera focuses on Stephan)
Reporter: —Did they labor in the fields?
Reporter: Did they have special privileges?
Stephan: Yes. That’s why—that’s why I—like I said made—that’s why I gained respect because I made an effort to be right there working, you know. Like I got the scar on my leg from cutting myself with an ax before I came in here. Uh you know I just—uh but special privileges meaning that they were allowed—I don’t know, just—
Reporter: Did they eat better? Did they eat in the same communal kitchens? (Reporters talk over each other)
Stephan: (Camera zooms in on Stephan) Uh I think mainly it was they didn’t just work in the fields. I think they ate the same. You know they may of had different things sent to them that weren’t sent to other people.
Reporter: Was this uh Layton—uh I forgot his name, Christ?
Reporter: No I forgot it, what’s it—
Reporter (different): Prokes?
Reporter: Carter? Prokes?
Stephan: No they were not—no they were not in the inner—
Reporter: Did they do—
Stephan: I can say that Mike Prokes and Tim Carter too did make an effort to work, you know with everyone else. And uh they were not—there were others who you know, were led to believe they were trusted, and you know. It was mainly just—like uh, it was more mainly females that fed his ego. It was only a few—very few.
Reporter: Did your father talk about—did he like to talk about planes falling out of the sky or did he use that image?
Stephan: I don’t—I don’t remember that. I mean I don’t deny he said it but I don’t remember that. I don’t even know what context you’re speaking on.
Reporter: I don’t know (Unintelligible)
Stephan: He talked about it a lot.
Reporter: Do you know why Prokes and Carter— (Unintelligible)
Stephan: Excuse me?
Reporter: Do you know why Prokes and Carter— (Unintelligible)
Stephan: They’re blind. (??) That’s all I can say. And how could I know I wasn’t there, you know. And I just want to say that I thank all of you for giving us a chance to say how we feel because we’re really in bad situation and uh I don’t want—I don’t want to be associated with what’s happened. That’s the last I want. I want my loved ones here you know. If everybody—if I can see that everyone’s okay I don’t care what happens to me and I honestly mean that. But you know I’m worried about everybody else.
Reporter new: Do you think that most of the Peoples Temple—those who’ve left (Camera zooms in on Paula) who’ve come out of the jungle—do you think that their natural inclination will be to return to the United States or is their hatred of the United States enough to try to seek refuge somewhere else.
Stephan: I don’t think there really was any hatred of the United States. It was just another way of lying.
Reporter: Your father didn’t—
Stephan: He hated the United States. He preached—
Reporter: —(Unintelligible) The capitalist system?
Stephan: He preached quite a bit—quite a bit of few things uh and a lot of them were contradictory. But I know I had no hatred for the United States. I—I hate anything that oppresses people and where people starve but I see you know, a combination of both in the United States.
Reporter: I ask Mrs. Touchette and Ingram that everything you heard Mr. Jones say today—is there anything— (Camera cuts to Ingram)
Ingram: I know when he came of age, to you know, to speak—even when he was younger, he spoke against his father. You know when he disagreed with—
Reporter: But his description of his father—is that something you see as objective, rather than a son’s uh you know, own deal with his father?
Ingram: Yes I do.
Reporter: Paula, how old are you?
Reporter: Twenty-nine. And where are you from?
(Tape cuts and the camera is back towards Stephan and the crowd of reporters)
Stephan: Here, if someone wants to get with him, we’ll find out.
The camera pans across the room of reporters then focuses back on Stephan as the press conference comes to a close. The tape then switches over to footage of Stephan, Paula, Ingram, and the others being escorted out of the building by Guyanese officials. The tape then finally cuts to outside footage of Stephan and the others entering a van, before it switches to footage of them inside it. A reporter then asks the group multiple questions before the van leaves.
(Unintelligible conversation between Stephan, Paula, Ingram, and reporters)
Reporter: (Asking outside the vehicle) How do you think they’re going to survive in the jungle?
Paula: (Shakes head)
Ingram: They—it would be very difficult because the jungle is very dense.
Reporter: I don’t quite understand how one large group died, and then another large group of maybe six-hundred people (Camera pans over to Ingram) are thought to still be alive. What would—why do you think those six-hundred people didn’t join in the—
Stephan?: They got away.
Paula: They got away before—
Reporter: You’d think that these four-hundred people were forced to do what they did?
Paula: While from what (Unintelligible)
Stephan: Most of them yeah.
Reporter: Rather than being fooled by the process (Camera pans back towards Paula and Stephan)—this White Night thing had happened many times right?
Stephan: Once. I mean we’d have discussions. Only one time was it—was it—
Reporter: Didn’t you say at one point during this news conference that you thought that the people might of believed that it was another drill? That it was—that it didn’t—once they took it they didn’t die they might do it another time?
Ingram: One of the newsmen said that.
Stephan: (Muffled) One of the newsmen said it—
Reporter: Well is that what you think?
Stephan: No. I think that some may of—because they thought that there was no hope and they thought that I was dead or something. But I think some were—just knew that they had no choice. (Camera zooms in on Stephan)
Reporter: But you don’t think they didn’t believe in—that this probably wouldn’t hurt them? That it would harm them?
Stephan: No. (Shakes head)
Reporter: You think that they were convinced that they knew it was going to be poison?
Stephan: I think so, but how can I say?
Reporter: Yeah. But the last thing is Steven, what made him think that you were dead?
Stephan: I just—I don’t know. I thought maybe he told—
Reporter: Your mother was in charge of the nursery—
Ingram: Right. She was. (??)
Reporter: The nurses were supposed to be giving out the poison. Is it possible—
Stephan: She was in charge to a certain point. At that point I can assure you she had nothing to do with it. I can assure you that she would be against any such action. Thank you.
Reporter: Thank you.