Dr. Mootoo Testimony at Guyana Inquest (Extracted)

GUYANA – TO WIT. – (stamp [unreadable]30JAN79[unreadable])
Coroner’s ord chap 13

County of Essequibo
[unreadable stamp]

Minutes of an inquisition taken and held at Matthews Ridge, North West Magisterial District [words crossed out] in County aforesaid, on the 13th day of December, 1978 upon the body of James W. Jones et al [words crossed out] now dead. before one of the Coroners of [words crossed out] the State of Guyana and following good Men/and woman constituting a Jury, viz:

(1) Albert A. Graham (Foreman)
(2) Charles Hinds
(3) Prince Glasgow
(4) Ivelav Worrel
(5) Leam Pocle

The Jury being duly sworn, [words crossed out] in the presence of the Coroner, when the following Witnesses were called and examined –

(1) Cecil A. Roberts of C.I.D. Headquarters, Eve Leary – Ex. “A1-13”
(2) Dr. Cyril L. Mootoo of Central Medical Laboratory – Exs. “B1-B2”
(3) P.C. 8900 R. Oliver of Photographic Branch, Eve Leary, Exs. “C1-C2”, “D” and “K1-K15” …

[Page 5 of Inquest]


I am Government Senior Bacteriologist and Pathologist, my address is at Central Medical Laboratory, Georgetown. I am also a graduate of the University of Dublin, Edinborough and I am also a Registered Medical Practitioner. On 20th November, 1978 I went to Jonestown North West Magisterial District and was shown several hundred of dead bodies some were identified to me by Odell Rhodes, this person (identified). I performed post mortem examination on some of the bodies. This I did in the presence of A.C.C. Roberts. I really started my examination of the said dead bodies on the Monday night 20th November, 1978. I slept at Jonestown about 50 yards from the dead bodies. The first body I performed post mortem with dissection on after it was identified by the said Odell Rhodes was the body of James Warren Jones. On examination I found he had a bullet wound on the right aspect of the skull just above the right ear, directly above the right ear. There was a larger wound on the left side of his head above the left ear. On closer examination I found the wound on the right side was the entrance wound and that on the left side exit wound. I saw evidence of a near discharge. From my experience I would say it was a .38 weapon. In my estimation I would say he had died 56 to 60 hours before I started to work on him. I started to work on the 21st November, 1978 about 9.00 a.m. The said body would have died after Saturday 18th November, 1978 midday. The cause of death Compound fracture of the skull, laceration of the brain due to gun shot injury. The area of the

[page 6 of inquest]

entrance wound is one the suicide area from a right handed person. Next body was found in a room identified by Odell Rhodes as that of Ann Elisabeth Moore (approximately) 26 years. On examination I found she to had a head injury the entire left aspect of the head was blown off and the brain was scattered all over the floor. There were no injury on her body. In my opinion that could not have been self inflicted she was murdered. I did a partial dissection but found no abnormality. I examined James Warren Jones abdomen and found no abnormality also. The cause of Ann Elisabeth Moore’s death was due to a compound commuted fracture to the left side of the vault and bone of skull with laceration of the brain due to gun shot injury. A weapon of high velocity such as a high powered rifle was used to cause her death. I then carried out post mortem toxicology study for poison on several other dead bodies among these that had been identified by the said Odell Rhodes. From the rostrum the identified bodies with tags would be on your left. I then went into the other groups of dead bodies on the right and back of where I was standing I made spot checks on some of those bodies which had not been identified. I made a list of the names of the dead bodies which were identified by Odell Rhodes. This is my said list tendered, admitted and marked exhibit “B”. I did also a toxicology study for poison on 25 unidentified dead bodies from different parts. Death was due to acute cyanide poison. In my estimation death could have supervene Saturday 18th November, 1978. A lethal dose of cyanide could kill a child in 5 minutes and a baby less. From what I saw most person died between twenty and thirty minutes after taking lethal dose of Cyanide poison (This is drinking). The entire premises in front of the rostrum was littered with plastic cups with or without this redish brown solution. There were syringes on a desk on the rostrum unused on a wooden container, there were vials of valium and ampools of valium. This valium is a tranquiliser. There was a bottle containing phenegram tablets which is another mild tranquiliser which is used in the treatment of alergy. There was a large bottle (8 oz.) containing chloralhydrate and this is used to put little children to sleep. I also saw about 7 (1 litre) bottle containing Potassium cyanide with labels and two litre bottles containing potassium choloride. If injected or drunk suppress the heart beat and makes death easier. Tests were carried out on the syringes and the half steel drum of cool aid and some of the contents in the cups and there were all positive for potassium

[page 7 of inquest]

cyanide. The other stuff such as the potassium bottle, valium etc were given to analyst for examination. The objective was to prove what label carried that was its contents. I got back one report from the analyst that in a bottle labelled valium there was also cyanide. The action Potassium cyanide is a respiratory suppressor and gives the effect of chemical suffocation because it interferes with the taking up of oxygen by the lungs. I see this exhibit “A1 to A13” and among the names of some appears are some of the names of the persons I carried out Post Mortem examination as shown on exhibit “B”.

Cross-examination by: – None.

No questions by members of the Jury.

Leslie Mootoo

Originally posted on November 3rd, 2018.

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