Federal Bureau of Investigation
Date of transcription 12/6/78
Robert Bob Paul was interviewed by Special Agents (SAs) [names deleted], Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI), at Miami International Airport (MIA), Miami, Florida. Present during this interview was Special Agent (SA) [name deleted], United States Secret Service, Miami, Florida. Prior to the interview, the nature of this inquiry was explained to Mr. Paul and that the FBI and Secret Service were desirous of any information you might have concerning events which have occurred in Jonestown, Guyana.
Paul advised that he has just returned to the United States from Georgetown, Guyana, and that he had been at Jonestown, Guyana, until November 18, 1978, when he escaped. He stated that he was married by the Reverend Jimmie Jones to Ruletta, his wife, while he was in Jonestown this year. He said he was married by simple decree by the Reverend Jones. He stated that he first met Ruletta when he was living in San Francisco, California, during the early 1970s and that they had lived together in Palo Alto, California. He stated that his wife and three children perished at Jonestown. He stated the children’s names were Mark Rose [Marquess Rhodes], eight years old; Issaac Rose [Isaac Rhodes], seven years old; and Robert Bob Brown Paul, approximately one year and six months.
He stated that he did not feel that his wife and children voluntarily committed suicide but believes that the poison was forced to her mouth as well as his children. He further stated that he would not describe the deaths at Jonestown as a mass suicide but rather mass murders.
He stated that he escaped Jonestown on the morning of November 18, 1978, between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. He stated it was his intention to seek help from authorities in Georgetown to rescue his wife and children from that community. He advised he had no idea that Congressman Ryan or many of the people at the Jonestown community would die during that latter part of the day. He stated he left
because the conditions were terrible at Jonestown; and people were being physically beaten, tied up, and restrained. He advised that people were brutally disciplined by the Reverend Jones, and Jones demanded complete trust and belief in him from his followers.
He stated that he had left the United States in the early part of the year to go back to Jonestown because he wanted to see what was going on. He stated that he had heard that conditions at Jonestown, where his wife and three children had been staying, were not good. He advised that shortly after his arrival, he became fearful for his personal safety.
He advised that he departed the United States around March or April 2, 1978, and arrived at Jonestown at that time and remained there until the day of his escape and the mass murders.
He advised that one of the survivors of the murders is a young female by the name of Monica [Bagby], who is presently living in Georgetown. He stated that she was shot twice in the back but survived. He advised that during the time he was at Jonestown, he was not allowed to leave; nor was he able to have any alcohol or tobacco.
He stated that around 1972, he first heard of the Reverend Jim Jones when he was living in San Francisco. He stated he attended several meetings and first joined the Peoples Temple during 1972.
He stated that he first saw Congressman Ryan on stage at Jonestown on Friday evening, November 17, 1978. He stated that when Congressman Ryan was on the stage, everyone at Jonestown attended and pretended that they were pleased, happy, and content with conditions at Jonestown. He stated this appearance was simply a “put on.”
He stated that the Reverend Jones controlled the lives of everyone at Jonestown and was in complete domination. Paul stated that Jones had said on numerous occasions that if anyone ever left the Jonestown community, they would be punished
severely by outsiders of the Peoples Temple; or if they were caught by him (Jones), they would be tortured also.
Paul stated that approximately two years ago, he was put out of the Peoples Temple Church because he could not accept all of the rules and regulations. He stated that at this time, he had been living in San Francisco and had attended a mother church at Rewood Valley, California, which is approximately 126 miles from San Francisco.
Paul stated that in his opinion, over one million dollars worth of goods have been shipped into Guyana at Jonestown during the time that he resided there. He advised that Leona Collins [Collier], a top secretary or aide to the Reverend Jones, in his opinion would have much knowledge concerning goods and items coming into Jonestown, which might possibly include weapons. He stated he saw many crates arrive at Jonestown while he was living there. He stated that Collins works at the Peoples Temple in San Francisco, and she had made one trip to the Jonestown community while he was residing there. He stated that he actually saw her during this trip.
Paul stated that for the past two years prior to coming to Jonestown, he had been living in New Iberia, Louisiana, where he worked in the convalescent home called Isiah. He stated that he was living there with his wife and children. He advised that she went to Jonestown around February, 1978, and he afterwards had heard talk that things were bad in Jonestown. He stated again that this was why he traveled to Jonestown to see what conditions were like. He stated that while they lived there, all the mail received was screened and opened by the Reverend Jones prior to it coming to him (Paul) or to his family. He advised that Reverend Jones again was in complete control of things in Jonestown and gave orders of how things were to be done.
Paul stated that Congressman Ryan had come to Jonestown on Friday, November 17, 1978, and he gave a speech that Friday night. Paul advised that Ryan spoke on stage and said that everything looked fine and okay at Jonestown;
but Paul stated that in his opinion, he did not think that Congressman Ryan really believed in what he was saying. He advised that in his opinion, he thought Ryan felt something might be wrong and possibly for his own safety was making these remarks.
Paul stated that he knew there were many weapons at Jonestown and that the Reverend Jones himself carried a .357 magnum. He advised that he saw shotguns, rifles, .22 automatics, and had heard there were some M-16s at the grounds. He advised that security people walked around the Jonestown grounds and were heavily armed. Paul also advised that there were a lot of secret police, many whose identities were not known to the general populace. He advised that you could have a good friend, and he might be with the secret police, and you would not know it. He advised that you would never know who might be informing on you, and you never knew who to trust in Jonestown.
Paul stated that on several occasions, alerts were held at Jonestown. He advised that these were drills held for security purposes. He advised that he has no knowledge concerning any firearms training that might have occurred at Jonestown. He advised that he would hear gunshots in the jungle for approximately one-hour intervals every three days. He advised that he never received any training, nor was he trusted.
He advised that he understood that the Reverend Jones had large amounts of money put aside to be used to kill any members who left the Peoples Temple Church or who would speak against it. He stated that he had heard that the Reverend Jones had given funds to the Mafia to kill traitors of the church. He also stated that he heard Reverend Jones say if anyone messed with his church, they would be taken care of, meaning killed.
Paul stated that the Reverend Jones claimed to have a spiritual army of 89 people that would take any action necessary including killing.
Paul stated that he feels the Reverend Jones had an individual by the name of Chris Louis [Lewis], a young male over 35 years old, killed in the San Francisco area approximately nine months ago. He advised he had no other information concerning this killing.
Paul stated he was not aware of any plans or discussions to kill any Federal, international, or other officials; nor did he know anyone who was targeted for murder.
Paul stated that the following individuals were persons who were close associates and trusted confidants of the Reverend Jones:
1. Johnny Jones, originally Johnny Brown, an adopted son of the Reverend Jones.
2. Ava Brown (wife of Johnny Jones). (He stated he believes those of these individuals are now dead.)
3. Mike Proks [Prokes] (Phonetic), alive and believed now living at Parks Hotel, Georgetown.
4. Tim Carter, now living at Parks Hotel. He advised Carter was a radio operator who made calls to the United States and also received them.
5. Lee Ingram, alive in Georgetown, coach of the basketball team. Paul described Ingram as a top confidant of Reverend Jones.
6. Stephen [Stephan] Jones, real son of the Reverend Jones, now at Georgetown. Paul stated he believes he is in custody of local authorities at Georgetown.
7. Tim Jones, white male, adopted son.
8. Jimmie Jones, Jr., black male, adopted son, now in Georgetown.
Paul stated that he does not trust any of the above mentioned individuals. Paul stated the following individuals were members of the Peoples Temple security force:
Calvin Douglas – a head security member.
Paul stated that the “Angels” were members of the Reverend Jones’ secret army, but he could not provide any more information concerning this group.
Paul stated that the following individuals were members of the Jonestown basketball team and also members of the security force:
Chris Nude [Newell]
Carl Burnett [Barnett]
Jimmie Jones, Jr.
Johnny Cobb Jones
Others unknown to him.
He stated that Calvin Douglas and Johnny Cobb Jones were heads of the security force. He further stated that Gerry Wilson [Burrell Wilson (?)] was also a member of the Jonestown basketball team, but he did not think that he was a member of the security force.
Paul stated that he had heard that Congressman Ryan was coming to Jonestown in order to interview people living at the community. He stated that the Reverend Jones had stated that no one comes into Jonestown without his permission, or they will be killed. Paul stated that this was all going on approximately one week prior to Congressman Ryan’s arrival.
He stated that during that week, the Reverend Jones called an alert; and security was increased significantly. Paul advised that at first, Reverend Jones was completely against Congressman Ryan’s visit to Jonestown but afterwards announced that he would be addressing the community. Paul stated that he was pleased to hear this and thought that it might be a chance for him to escape since security would be concentrating on Congressman Ryan and his party rather than the inhabitants of Jonestown. He further advised that there was a curfew during the evening that Ryan came to Jonestown, and everyone had to be in bed by 11 p.m. except security people. He advised he last saw Ryan on Friday, November 17, 1978, and he escaped Jonestown on Saturday morning between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. He stated it was around 4 p.m. en route to Georgetown that he had heard from the driver of a train that Congressman Ryan and some people had been shot at the airport. Paul stated that later he had heard that 400 people were dead and after that 600 people.
Paul stated that he had heard that the Reverend Jones had given orders to some of his security guards that Congressman Ryan was not to leave alive. Paul stated that he heard this information after the news of the deaths were out.
Paul stated that he is not directly aware of any discussions regarding the assassination of Congressman Ryan and his party. He advised that the Reverend Jones had wanted members of the community to go out into practice jungle patrolling, but there were no volunteers. He advised that Jones had to rely on his own security people to do this. Paul stated that he did not see any practice drills for any ambushes or for anyone who disturb the Jonestown compound.
Paul stated that he was present on one occasion when a practice drill was held where people were asked by the Reverend Jones who would like to commit suicide. Some people in the group raised their hands, and some people did
not. Reverend Jones stated, “I want everyone to raise their hands.” Paul related that the Reverend Jones had said he wanted us all to die with dignity, and he declared that he was God.
Paul said that there were people who were confined at Jonestown who wanted to return home; and because of this desire, they were heavily drugged. He stated that they were kept in a place called “S.C.U.,” which he described as a special security place. Paul stated that he knew many people disappeared, but he never actually saw anyone murdered or any events that occurred at the airport.
Paul was asked if he knew of the existence of an “assassination squad,” and he stated he does not have any information but does feel that there was an “assassination squad.” He further advised that he does not know of any plans on the part of any individuals to carry out any assassinations.
Paul stated that while he was at Jonestown, his duties included cutting trees in the jungle. Paul stated that while he was in the jungle, he cut a trail which led to a highway which he later utilized in his escape.
Paul stated that discipline was very strict at Jonestown, and he saw his own children punished for simply playing. He advised that one of the security people who disciplined his own children was a Tom Grubbs, whom he believes is now dead. He stated that punishment included physical blows, beatings, people being tied up, hit with sticks, and made to dig ditches.
Paul provided the following background information concerning his relatives:
He advised that he intends to reside with his grandmother, Ida Louis, at 1102 Sis Street, at New Iberia, Louisiana 70560, telephone number 318-365-6340.
[Editor’s note: Information on eight additional relatives deleted]
Paul advised that he does not have any information regarding involvement of members of the Peoples Temple in any criminal offenses. He stated that the Reverend Jones had been instrumental in getting many people out of jail, and he assumes that this was by placing bond money for them. He said many of these people had come to Jonestown, and many of them may have been wanted by local authorities or authorities in other countries. He stated that many of these people changed their names while at Jonestown, and one of the reasons might be they are being wanted by authorities. He stated that this was strictly his own opinion.
Paul stated that the radio was operated by Mike Carter, Lee Ingram, and some other women whose names are unknown to him. He stated that there was a code used on the radio, but it was confidential; and he could provide no information concerning it. He advised that he believes that Mike Carter was operating the radio during the last couple of weeks prior to the mass murders at Jonestown.
Paul stated that weapons were stored in the loft in the home of Johnny Cobb Jones and also in the radio room and in the residence of Stephen Jones.
He advised that drivers of the tractor-trailer were Stanley Gege [Gieg] (phonetic), whom he believes is dead; Mike Tushay [Albert Touchette] (phonetic); David George, a Guyanese, also believed dead; and one Ed Crenshaw. Paul stated that he believes Ed Crenshaw might have been the driver who drove the tractor-trailer at the time Congressman Ryan was shot, but this is something that he heard and did not see.
Paul stated that he had heard that Tom Kice, whom he believes is still alive, was the man that shot Congressman Ryan. He advised that Bob Kice, a nephew of Tom Kice, is believed dead. He advised that Bob Kice was a security guard for the Reverend Jones. He further stated that it is his understanding that Tom Kice was a carpenter at the Jonestown compound and that Kice had spoken against the Reverend Jones. He advised that Tom Kice did not always agree with some of the philosophies of the Reverend Jones. He further stated that he knew an Eliu Denice [Elihue Dennis], who was a mechanic at the compound, and that he wanted to go home. He advised that he does not have any information or know anything about a “silent weaponry squad” but that he had heard of an “explosives unit” and that this was a squad that had bombs, demolition expertise, and may have had a bazooka. He stated that Tom Fish [Fitch] was a member of the “explosives unit,” but he believes he may possibly be now dead. He further stated that Doug Sanders was an electronic man and may have been a member of the “explosives unit.”
He stated he is not sure whether Sanders is alive or dead, and he last saw him at Jonestown. He advised that many of the people who were at Jonestown had changed their names, but he could not recall any of these individuals.
Paul stated that he had heard that the following individuals from the truck and that they had shot at Congressman Ryan’s plane:
Johnny Leyton [Larry Layton]
Paul stated that while he was at Jonestown, he was forced to sign a petition protesting anyone visiting the compound including Congressman Ryan. This was approximately one week prior to Ryan’s arrival. Paul stated that he does not recall signing any other forms.
Paul stated that the term “white nights” means alert, and everyone is to go to the pavilion at the compound. He advised that the night of the mass murders was a “white night.”
Paul stated that Stephen Jones had different personalities and that he was the only one who could speak to the Reverend Jones in any manner that he desired and get away with it. He advised that Stephen Jones could use profanity against the Reverend Jones, and nothing would happen to him.
Paul stated that Mark Lane was a movie director and lawyer. He advised that the Reverend Jones spoke highly of Mark Lane, and he was a top attorney for the Peoples Temple along with a Charles Gray [Garry]. Paul stated that both Lane and Gray had arrived at the compound the night before the arrival of Congress Ryan. He stated he does not know how they left Jonestown, but they must’ve had clearance from the Reverend Jones and possibly papers.
Paul stated that Terri Buford was a financial secretary for the Reverend Jones, who is now in Georgetown. He stated that this individual is a white female. He advised that Debbie Tushay [Touchette] (phonetic) worked in the fields, and he believes she is alive. He advised that she would travel back and forth to Georgetown on missions; but for what purpose, he doesn’t know.
He advised that he believes that Larry Schack [Schacht] was the doctor at Jonestown, and he had heard that Schack had mixed the poison used in the mass murders.
He advised that he has no knowledge of any United States Government agency official accompanied by a San Francisco official coming to the compound. He further advised that he does not know of any politicians involved with the Peoples Temple. He advised that Paula Adams and Maria Kassarus [Katsaris] may have been secretaries for the Reverend Jones.
He advised that Tim Jones is presently in Georgetown, Guyana, and that Pancho Johnson [Garry Dartez “Poncho” Johnson] was a security man for the Reverend Jones.
He advised that two people whom he believes were Russians visited Jonestown approximately three months ago. He stated they were guests of the Reverend Jones, and he believes they stayed approximately three days. He further advised that he believes one of them was a doctor, and he also heard that the Reverend Jones might have had cancer.
Paul stated that he has no knowledge or knew of any plans to kill Congressman Ryan. He further stated that his main concern now is for proper burial for members of his family and to seek a job.
Paul provided the following background information concerning himself:
|Name||Robert Bob Paul|
|Date of Birth||November 3, 1945|
|Place of Birth||Jefferson Island, Louisiana|
|Weight||157 pounds (lost approximately 25 pounds from normal weight)|
|First wife||[name deleted], separated, living San Francisco, whereabouts unknown.|
|Second Wife||Ruletta Paul, deceased, Jonestown.|
|Military Service||United States Army, 1st Airborne, Vietnam.|
|Social Security Number||438-66-3502|
|Arrest Record||Disturbing piece, 1975, New Iberia, Louisiana|
|Driver’s License||Claims to have lost his license but claims to have valid Louisiana State driver’s license|
|United States Passport Number||JO 69549 – passport shows arrival in Guyana as March, 1978|
|Children||Mark Rose [Marquess Rhodes], eight years old, stepson, deceased, Jonestown; Issaac Rose [Isaac Rhodes],seven years old, stepson, deceased, Jonestown; Robert Bob Brown Paul, one year and six months, deceased, Jonestown|
Paul stated that in 1975 while studying martial arts he was kicked in the head which resulted in a blood clot in his brain. He stated that he had an operation at Mount Zion Hospital, San Francisco, to correct this situation. He stated he does not recall the name of the doctor who performed the operation.