Serial 1131-2

[Editor’s note: The subject of the interview in this serial whose name is deleted is former Temple member Johnny Franklin, who left Jonestown with Richard Clark on November 18, 1978. Several of Johnny Franklin’s relatives are also deleted from the serial. The deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type.]

FD-302

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 12/8/78

[Name deleted] (no middle name) [name deleted] [Johnny Franklin], was interviewed in the presence of Secret Service Special Agent (SA) [name deleted] at Miami International Airport (MIA), Miami, Florida.

[Franklin] advised that he resides at [address deleted], San Francisco, California 94115. He is employed at the [company deleted] in San Francisco as a supervisor where he has been employed since approximately 1967. He recently went to San Francisco, California, to see his aunt, [name deleted], and to better himself financially. His aunt presently resides at [address deleted], California. She does not have a telephone and is retired and her husband’s name is [deleted].

When he arrived in San Francisco, he obtained employment at the [company deleted] in the Housekeeping Department. He first became aware of the Peoples Temple (PT) Church through a friend of his that work at the [company deleted] who told about Reverend Jim Jones. This was approximately two or more years ago. He went to hear Reverend Jones and although he did not believe in the healing the sick or the raising of the dead as being legitimate, he did notice that Jones appeared to make a real effort to help the elderly people and feed the hungry. He also adopted a lot of children. Jones appeared to be doing a lot of good in the San Francisco area at that time. Normally the services were from 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM on Saturday and Sunday nights. He attended somewhat regularly. Normally Jones during the services, would be doing a lot of talking, healing, and taking a lot of collections for money. Jones took a lot of collections during the services and put a strong emphasis on money. The PT Church in San Francisco is located on the corner of Gary Street and Filmore. [Geary Boulevard and Fillmore].

The girlfriend of his by the name of [name deleted] was a member of the PT and they lived together in San Francisco. She lived on [address deleted], but he did not recall the street number. She bore one child to [Franklin] by the name of [name deleted].

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The child was born three years ago in San Francisco.

[Franklin] was married to [name deleted] in July of [year deleted] at [town deleted], Florida, at the AME Baptist Church in [town deleted], Florida. He was never divorced and is still presently married to her although they are separated. He has a daughter, [name deleted] and two sons, [names deleted]. Both children are by [name deleted]. They all live with their mother. She is employed at the [company deleted] in San Francisco.

[name deleted] and [name deleted] [Tommie Charlene Rochelle Franklin and Christopher Darnell Franklin] both died at Jonestown, Guyana. [Tommie] was 28 years old and [Christopher] was three years old. His adopted children [name deleted] [Kim Rochelle], age 11 years (a male), and [name deleted] [Anthony], age six years, also died in Jonestown in the alleged suicide. [Anthony] and [Kim] were Tommie’s children by some other man although she was never married.

He lived with [name deleted] for approximately five years which would be five years ago. He met her in San Francisco for the first time. He does janitorial work at the [company deleted] and she worked as a unit assistant. He works as a supervisor in the [company deleted] and the Housekeeping Department at the [company deleted].

He went to Guyana on September 24, 1978, leaving from San Francisco. He took a leave of absence from [company deleted] and was to return to work on January 2, 1979.

[Franklin] displayed to the interviewing Agents a slip of paper indicating that he had a leave of absence from the [company deleted] until January 2, 1979. His supervisor’s name is [deleted].

He went to Guyana to attempt to get his “companion”, [Tommie Rochelle], to return to San Francisco with him. When he arrived in Guyana, he realized that it would be impossible almost to return because of the slave labor type

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concentration camp atmosphere in Guyana. He fully intended to return to the United States, but Reverend Jones would not allow it. He let it be known that he wished to return to the United States and even on several occasions, told Jones that he had to return to get money. He stated that this was not true, but he thought it would entice Jones into letting him leave. He told Jones that he had to get his retirement check and his grandfather had died, leaving him some money and he would return with the money. Jones told him that they had a legal department that could handle the whole thing by mail. Jones told him if he left, he would be dead. He told him if he tried to leave out the front door of the camp, they would “drop me dead”. He also told him “don’t play with my power”. One of the “counselors” told him that the only way he would go home was “in a box”.

He stated that he is very disenchanted with the PT and feels in his opinion that Reverend Jones was “an ass”. Jones was “evil”. He feels very bad about the whole thing and feels that the persons responsible for the mass suicide and/or murderers should be bound and punished. He stated that “I don’t believe in violence”. He stated that Reverend Jones and the “basketball team – security squad” were “really mean”.

He stated that while he was in Guyana, the Temple would have meetings and would have security guards standing behind people attending the meetings. The security guards would beat people that complained or did not agree with Reverend Jones completely. Reverend Jones was either speaking most of the time or he was talking on a recorded tape, which was prerecorded and played through loudspeakers.

He stated, “I’m a loner”. He stated that he did not know anything regarding the inner workings of the camp hierarchy and does not know who made decisions or what decisions were made. He was not familiar with any code words or code phrases. He knew nothing of any type of attempts to brainwash, hypnotize or furnish people with posthypnotic type suggestions.

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He stated he does not know of any other churches in the PT other than one church in Los Angeles, California, and does not know the street address. Jim McCabin [Jim McElvane] was the leader of that particular temple. He died in Jonestown. He does not know of any relocation points.

After staying in Jonestown, they were “killing me working me seven days a week”. He decided that he would “die or escape”.

If people in the camp were sick, they could lay down for two hours but they had to return to work. They were being starved and that only rice and gravy everyday. Everyone that worked in the camp ate the same thing. There were thousands of hogs and chickens in the camp, but no one ever ate any of them except the security guards and Jones. The people close to Jones ate very good. The people in the camp were broke down into people in charge of security, money and the radio. The important people in the camp were: (1) Reverend Jim Jones (2) Johnny Jones, who died, (3) Ava “Avery” Jones (dead), (4) Lee Ingram, presently alive in Guyana (Jones’ right-hand man). Ingram was in charge of money and security. (5) Joe Wilson (dead), (6) Stephen [Stephan] Jones (Jones’ son), age 19 years (looks 22 years old), who was close to Reverend Jones and in charge of security.

The security guards around Jones consisted of about a dozen men. They were Stephen Jones, Johnny Cobb Jones, Calvin Douglas, Pancho [Garry Dartez “Poncho” Johnson], and Tim Jones (Reverend Jones’ son). Tim Jones and Johnny Cobb Jones are alive. Calvin Douglas and Stephen Jones are also alive. Pancho died at Jonestown.

Reverend Jones lived in the “east house”.

[Franklin] worked all day long [information deleted].

Reverend Jones complained all the time about someone putting poison in his food and had a paranoia about

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his food. If anyone complained about food, they were beaten by security guards and people in the camp were followed around by security guards constantly. If he even went to “the bathroom”, the security guards followed him. Reverend Jones had his own cook [Esther Mueller] that prepared his meals. This woman had been his cook for a number of years.

[Franklin]’s religious affiliation was that of being a member of the Church of Christ in [town deleted], Florida, where he joined the church at about the age of nine years and was baptized. He attended a Church of Christ in San Francisco, but does not consider himself a “religious person”. He is “not more religious than average”.

The “basketball team” was the security force in the camp. They were “the main guards”. They were “security”. They went around playing basketball and when they left the camp, there was a second squad of security guards to operate security in the camp. There were about 12 security men on each security squad and there were two security squads. When they were not playing basketball, they were operating security.

Johnny Cobb Jones was next to the leader of security and he was over the security heads. Calvin Douglas was behind Johnny Cobb Jones in leadership. Lee Ingram was the leader of the security.

There were approximately 900 people in Guyana. They were 127 miles approximately from the nearest settlement. They were located in the jungle.

The security guards went around generally in groups of two or more and were armed with high-powered rifles and pistols.

The security guards are supposed to come to the United States. To his knowledge, none of the guards died in the camp.

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There are still about 12 that are alive. The people in the camp were generally weak from overwork and lack of food and it was almost impossible for them to resist the guards.

Joe Wilson, who died in Jonestown, generally took over when Johnny Cobb Jones left the camp. Wilson carried a pistol on his side with a high-powered army type rifle. He saw him on one occasion carrying two rifles, wrapped up in plastic, in addition to a rifle slung over his shoulder.

Generally the security guards would stand behind Jones when he talked with their hands behind their back at attention.

“Pancho” Johnson was in charge of the second security team. Pancho died at Jonestown. The second security squad all died in Jonestown to the best of his knowledge.

He stated that on one occasion, he saw Pancho hitting someone with his fist and cussing them. At night, the security force walked around the camp, armed. None of the people in the camp were allowed to roam around at night.

Johnny Brown Jones, Jr., (deceased) was mean. He was part of security and he put [Franklin] on heavy punishment.

The people in the camp were not allowed to eat grapefruit or bananas and were punished if they did.

The people were sometimes given a pill which had some type of narcotic effect. These were people that were “a problem”. He knew one man that had committed some homosexual type act and he complained that the pill that they had been giving him made his “head float”.

The camp people were not divided up, but generally the young and senior citizens of the camp were in the same

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general area.

On one occasion, two or three Russians visited the camp. He did not know their names and they appeared to be checking sanitary conditions in the camp. They inspected the latrine and kitchen facilities. He did note that when the Russians ate, they fed the Russians chicken and a good meal. They tried to lead the Russians to believe that everyone in the camp was fed this same dish. This visit by the Russians occurred about two months ago and they stayed about one week. He does not know any other details concerning their visit, but does know that they spoke to the people in a meeting.

He does not know of any government official visiting the camp other than Ryan, who arrived on a Friday night. Ryan spoke to the people in a meeting and said something to the effect that he really enjoyed visiting the camp and was leaving the next morning. He and some other people in the camp made their plans to escape the next morning since they felt like it was a good time to escape. When Ryan spoke to the people, he was seated on a bandstand and he spoke on Friday night about 8:00 or 9:00 PM. Someone filmed the whole meeting and there were several photographers filming this.

[Franklin] made his escape Saturday morning at 9:00 AM along with Robert Paul and Richard Clark and his wife [Diane Louie Rozynko]. There were some other people in the group. They had planned for about two months to leave if any United States official arrived at the camp. Clark told Paul and Paul told [Franklin] that they were going to escape. [Franklin] said that his baby was in the nursery and his stepchild was in school and his 11-year-old’s whereabouts were unknown in the camp. [Tommie Rochelle] said something to the effect “I know I’ll die if you leave”. He told her that this was nonsense. He tried to talk her into escaping with him, but she declined. She said something to the effect that she should report him since he planned to escape. He tried to bluff her. He told her that if she did, he would beat her “behind”. She used the

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words “write me up”, this meaning that she would report him to Reverend Jones. He was of the opinion that his “companion” had been brainwashed to a certain degree because she felt that things would [be] better once they got to Russia. Most of the people in the camp did exactly what Jones wanted them to do since if they did not or they complained, they were quickly beaten by the guards. Jones was referred to as father and other people were called mother.

On a Wednesday, he recalled that Reverend Jones had said something to the effect that some of the people’s parents were coming and that if any of the people’s parents gave them notes, they were to give the notes to the “counselors” to read. He recalled hearing Billy (Solomon) (now deceased) say something that particular day while [Franklin] was coming out of the shower to the effect “I’m going to shoot someone in the head”. He told Solomon that was foolish. He did not hear anyone say anything about harming Ryan or about killing anyone.

He stated that he never heard the term “Angels” although he considered Ava Jones to be an Angel. He stated that normally he would interpret the term “Angel” as the women that were on “easy street”. These were women that clean every day, but did not get dirty and worked in the office running the radio and doing paperwork.

On several occasions, people in the camp were given blank pieces of paper to sign. They did not know what would be typed in above their signature. They were also on occasion asked to copy form letters to send people back home. This occurred on several occasions and many times, they did not even know what they were signing since any written or typed information above their signature was hid from their view. This happened at least on three occasions.

Reverend Jones told the people in the camp that the Prime Minister of Guyana and the police in Guyana were his associates and that if they tried to escape, they would be returned to the camp.

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Reverend Jones had made the comment that if anything happened to him, “all would go too”.

His companion mentioned to him about on [an] occasion drinking Koolaid as practice for drinking poison. He thought this was crazy. He believes the Reverend Jones was “a devil”.

The homosexual that was punished by taking some type of narcotic pill was Peter Waterspoon [Wotherspoon]. He died in Jonestown.

He does not know when the mass suicide or murder of Ryan took place since he left evidently the Saturday morning before Ryan was killed and the mass suicide took place.

Billy Solomon’s last name may have been Oliver and he also had a brother by the name of Bruce. Billy, he recalled, stuttered. Both of the Oliver brothers are dead. They were both in security. The purpose of the security force was to keep people in and keep people out.

The morning that he escaped from the camp, Bruce and Billy Oliver had just walked by him.

Reverend Jones on occasion, told the people in the camp then if anyone came around his house at night, he would “blow them up”. Reverend Jones was not seen much in public, but always had tapes playing around the camp.

One of the documents that he was forced to sign in return for food, according to someone in the camp, read something to the effect “keep people out”. All of the people in the camp were to sign this piece of paper, but the writing or typing on the letter was covered up. Reverend Jones had made a speech on the intercom for the people to sign the paper.

Every night in the camp they had Russian classes and they studied how to speak Russian. Reverend Jones

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would have them speak and write Russian and then he would quiz them. Also they had news broadcast from the United States, which was played on tape and then they were quizzed on the news. He stated that the Russian classes were during about the last month and every day to the end (the time he escaped), Reverend Jones kept saying that everyone was going to Russia.

Reverend Jones was always saying that someone was trying to poison him or had “witchcraft on him”.

Although the incoming and the outgoing mail was screened by the counselors. They opened, read, and destroyed the mail contents it was not appropriate. The counselors made a lot of decisions. He did not recall their names.

He does not have any specific knowledge of acquisition, licensing or shipment of any weapons by PT members to Guyana or anywhere else. He does not have any specific knowledge of firearms training received by PT members. He is not aware of any threats to harm public officials or current and former members of the PT as a result of leaving the church or attempts to expose the church and subsequently, Jim Jones. He was not aware of any caching of weapons or money by Jones either in Guyana or at other locations. He is not aware of any contingency plans that existed or any discussions of a plan, reportedly espoused by Jones as a means of retaliation against any persons attempting to arrest or capture Jim Jones or who would interfere with church policies. He is not aware of any officials, federal, international or other, who were set up as targets for murder. He does not know of any discussions of such a plan. He is not aware of individuals who were inner core of the planning commission.

He stated that the persons that were trusted associates of the PT who acted without question for Jones who are considered extremely dangerous that are alive are all in Guyana. The persons that he

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considers the most dangerous members of the PT or the “basketball team – security squad”. They are now all alive and in Guyana. They are Lee Ingram, Johnny Jones, Tim Jones, Calvin Douglas, Johnny Cobb Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jimmy Jones, Jr.

The persons that comprised the PT security force were the above individuals. Steve Jones was the son of Reverend Jones; he was a security head. He (Steve) is a white male, age 19 years, black hair, heavy black mustache, 6’, 185 pounds, with brown eyes and medium complexion. He “has a bad temper”. He is alive in Guyana.

Tim Jones is alive in Guyana and he is about 17 to 18 years old, white male, 5’11”, 165 pounds, with blond hair. He was part of security and was on the basketball team. He is “ignorant and has a bad temper”.

Lou [Lew] Jones is a male Chinese, 21 years, 5’8″ to 5’9″, 145 to 150 pounds, and the adopted son of Jones. He worked in the bakery and “had it easy”. He is now deceased.

Tim Carter is now living in Guyana and was a business associate of Reverend Jones. He is in his 20s or 30s. He could not describe him further. Mike Carter was also a business associate of Jim Jones and he could not describe them further. Tim and Mike Carter were caught by the Guyana Police in the jungle with a lot of money.

Most of the security force were in the Park Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana. This is a large hotel which is a place where all of the people from Jonestown were housed by the Guyana officials.

Bob Kice, a white male, was one of the security people and is “rough and dangerous”.

Calvin Douglas, a black male, aged 18 to 19 years, 6’, 185 pounds, stubby build, was part of security and he

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is “ignorant, thinks bad and has a quick temper”.

Jimmy Jones, Jr., is a black male, 19 to 20 years, 6’, 160 pounds, in security and he stutters. He was in a very jovial mood when [Franklin] last saw him and laughing on the bus last Monday near the airport.

Mike Touchette is a white male and had something to do with the money in the camp. All of the Touchette brothers had something to do with money in the camp. He is of medium build.

Bud [Doug] Sanders is a white male, white complexion and stout. He cannot describe him further.

Lee Ingram is living in Guyana. He is a black male, 33 years, 175 pounds, 6’. He was in charge of the basketball team security. He traveled with the basketball team and was very close to Reverend Jones.

Paula Adams died in Jonestown. Maria Kassara [Katsaris] is deceased. Jim McClbain or McElvan [McElvane] died at Jonestown. He was very close to Reverend Jones. He was a white male. There were very few females there were able to escape from the camp, but there were about 11 total that escaped.

He is not familiar with what the word White Knight means. He is not familiar with Mark Lane, but the name sounds familiar.

When he escaped from the camp, he went seven miles up the road into the jungle and ran 20 miles to the railroad. He was caught by some police from the Guyanan Government, near the railroad.

Reverend Jones told him that if he tried to escape, he would “die”.

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He stated he does not know if the term “Angels” was identical to the security force or not.

He stated that he believes that he could identify some of the members of the Jonestown basketball team on sight.

He does not have any information regarding bribery or influence peddling by members of the PT.

He is not aware of any discussions regarding the assassinations of Congressman Ryan or his party. He does not know if Reverend Jones ordered the party ambushed. He doesn’t know if there were any practice drills for ambush of anyone who disturbed the Jonestown compound. He does not know who participated in the assassination. He does not know from first-hand knowledge of any practice suicide drills where people pretended to drink poison. He does not know narcotics were used to facilitate this. He does not know if the mass suicide took place voluntarily or whether the people were forced to take the poison and shot. He did not witness the people doing the shooting.

He does not know of the existence of any assassination squad or the identity of its members. He did state that the basketball team – security force would be capable of just about anything.

He does not know of any remaining individuals who are at liberty that will carry out assassination plans of survivors or defectors.

He does not know any information regarding involvement of members of the PT in any criminal offenses such as assault or homicide.

The only persons that he knows of that operated the radio in the camp were Lee Ingram and one person whose name he does not recall that had curly hair. The curly haired person was a white male about 21 years, black hair, 5’7″, 150 pounds.

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He believes that Tim Jones and Mike Carter may have also operated a radio. The curly headed boy was married to a black girl.

He recalled the Friday night when Ryan arrived in the camp, Lee Ingram had taken the basketball team to Georgetown to play basketball. It was called in on the radio by Lee Ingram from Georgetown that the team had won by ten points.

He does not have any knowledge of any written or oral oaths signed by members of the church. He does not know of any oaths signed for the purpose of killing a congressman, former president of the United States, or other government official should the United States bring disgrace upon the PT. He does not have any knowledge of any relocation plans in the event of mass suicide. He does not have any knowledge of any Soviet or Cuban association other than stated above. He is not aware of any meetings or contact between officials of the State of California, in particular a lieutenant governor, who may have visited with PT officials and the Guyana Government. He does not have any information regarding Paula Adams other than a Paulette Adams, who is believed to be dead. He does not know of anyone that might be Jones’ sexual secretary. He does not have any information regarding a primitive nuclear device.

He advised that Doctor Lawrence [Laurence] Eugene Schacht was known to him. He was the camp doctor. He was a white male in his mid-30s, 5’11”, 165 pounds. He is now deceased. The thing that he remembered about Schacht was that he always had a weird smile. He had heard people in the camp comment that Schacht seemed to have a funny enjoyment of checking a person’s prostate. Every time anyone went to Schacht for anything, he was always checked for the condition of his prostate.

He stated that highly professional people in Jonestown of the PT made toy dolls. These dolls are sold in Georgetown. He had no information regarding narcotics.

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Some of the other Peoples Temple officials in the Jonestown camp were Stanley Clayton, a supervisor in the kitchen. He is a black male, 25 (bald headed), 155 pounds, 5’11”. He “talks a lot.” Odell Rose [Rhodes] was a public service supervisor. He is a black male, 36, 5’9″, 160 pounds, with a bad right leg.

[Franklin] stated that he plans to return to his residence and employment in San Francisco but is presently on his way to Orlando, Florida, to see his mother, who lives in [deleted], Florida. His mother will meet him at the airport in Orlando. He plans to return to work January 2, 1979.

The following description and background information was obtained through observation and interview of [Johnny] (no middle name [Franklin]:

Sex Male
Race Black
Date of Birth [deleted]
Place of Birth [deleted], Florida
Height [deleted]
Weight [deleted] pounds. [Franklin] stated during interview that he prior to going to Guyana weighed [deleted] pounds.)
Complexion Brown
Hair Short black

[Editor’s note: the balance of the information in this serial – ranging from Franklin’s clothing to his relatives to his associates – was deleted.]

Originally posted on August 14th, 2019.

Last modified on November 30th, 2020.
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