[Editor’s note: The interviewee in this serial whose name is deleted is Ruby Neal Johnson, a survivor of the deaths in Jonestown. The deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type.]
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Date of transcription 12/6/78
[One line of identifying information of Ruby Johnson deleted] was interviewed at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIA) after her departure from Pam American (Pan Am) flight 228 arriving from Georgetown, Guyana.
[Johnson] was advised of the identities of the interviewing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agents and Special Agent (SA) [Name deleted] of the United States Secret Service (USSS).
[Johnson] stated that she first became acquainted with the People’s Temple (PT) in early 1971, in Los Angeles, California. [Johnson] had become a member of the PT, whose leader was the Reverend Jim Jones. The church was based in San Francisco, California, but have a temple in Los Angeles which [Johnson] belonged to and which [Johnson] evidently joined in 1971.
[Johnson] advised that during the first few years she was a member of the PT she was employed as [one line of information deleted]. Due to her occupation she was appointed by the PT to [phrase deleted] for the Los Angeles chapter. In late 1973, [Johnson] terminated employment at [company deleted] and devoted her efforts full-time to the PT. She worked under the direct supervision of [Name deleted] and was sent to San Francisco in early 1976, for further instruction. She remained at the PT in San Francisco from early 1976 to December, 1977, when she left the United States (US) and traveled to Guyana to join the PT at Jonestown. [Johnson] stated that she arrived at Georgetown, Guyana, in December, 1977, and stayed at Lamaha Gardens (a house owned by the PT) for approximately one month awaiting transportation to Jonestown. During her stay in Guyana, [Johnson] traveled between Jonestown and Georgetown on several occasions. Approximately three and one half weeks prior to the assassination of Congressman Leo Ryan should turn to Georgetown to word at Lamaha Gardens doing general duties, which consisted of [one line of information deleted]. She was at Lamaha Gardens the day of the assassination.
[Johnson] stated that Congressman Ryan had visited Lamaha Gardens prior to going to Jonestown and stayed at the house for approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
[Johnson] advised that on Saturday, November 18, 1978, Sharon Amos controlled the radio room at Lamaha Gardens. Amos refused everybody access to the room which, according to [Johnson], was unusual since everybody could use the radio anytime they desired to do so. That evening, as the police arrived at the house, Amos ran upstairs with a knife and cut her three children’s throats. Word of the assassination and mass deaths at Jonestown did not reach the house until early Sunday morning, November 19, 1978.
[Johnson] recalled that residing at Lamaha Gardens on November 18, 1978, were the coordinators, Robin Tsetta (phonetic) [Tschetter] and Andrea Walker, as well as the basketball team which was in Georgetown to practice for an upcoming tournament. She furnished the following names concerning the members of the team:
Steven [Stephan] Jones
James Jones, Jr.
Karal [Carl] Barnett
Lee Ingram (Coach)
Mike Touchette (Coach)
[Johnson] stated that she was not aware of any plan to assassinate Congressman Ryan and have not heard any threats made against him. She was equally unaware of any mass suicide plans, but recalled one of the members mentioning mass suicide a few years ago. She never participated in any practices to commit suicide and never heard Reverend Jim Jones preaching death or suicide.
[Johnson] did recall Reverend Jones telling the membership about mercenaries which might try to attack Jonestown, but denied any knowledge of plans to kill people.
[Johnson] refused to believe a mass suicide theory and is convinced that the members were forced to drink the cyanide. The following relatives of [Johnson] were at Jonestown and not listed as survivors:
[Names of relatives deleted; known relatives who died in Jonestown include]
Beverly Ann Mitchell, daughter
Danielle Gardfrey, granddaughter
Dominique Gardfrey, granddaughter
Kenneth Gardfrey, grandson
[Johnson] was then asked various specific questions and provided the responses which will follow:
[Johnson], although she never observed more than one rifle, remember an announcement being made at Jonestown which advised members that four rifles and been acquired and were licensed in Guyana. These rifles were to be used for hunting and protection from animals in the jungle.
Over four months ago, [Johnson] saw Joe Wilson and Gary (last name unknown) (LNU), a.k.a. Poncho [Garry Dartez Johnson], with one rifle. They were allegedly going into the jungle to practice with it. The only other weapon observed during her stay at Jonestown was a crossbow carried by Bonnie Simon.
[Johnson] did not have any knowledge of caching of weapons, bombs, or nuclear devices. When specifically asked about “hut 14”, she stated that it was occupied by children.
Unaware of any threats to harm any public officials or current and former members of the PT as a result of leaving the church or attempts to expose the church and Reverend Jim Jones.
There was no financial structure at Jonestown. Members turned over all their belongings including checks and money to the treasurer, Mary [Marie] Katsaris.
While in Los Angeles, [several words deleted] the PT bank account at the Bank of America, Olympic Branch.
Unaware of any discussion of a contingency plan which will be utilized as a means of retaliation against any persons attempting to arrest or capture Reverend Jim Jones or interfere with the church.
Unaware of any plans to kill anybody.
[Several words deleted] the planning commission while in Los Angeles. The commission consisted of 50 to 60 people and was responsible for drawing plans which would better the PT. The commission also ordered supplies and voted on what major purchases would be made.
[Several words deleted] the planning commission at Jonestown or Georgetown, but advised that Maria Katsaris, Robin Tsetta (phonetic) [Tschetter] and Joan Pursley were members.
[Johnson] had no knowledge of a security force other than those who stood at the front gate. These people were not armed, but prevented members from leaving Jonestown. When questioned concerning this, [Johnson] advised that some members had attempted to leave by running through the jungle. These members would always be brought back and placed in the Emergency Care Unit (ECU) supposedly because they had been injured in the jungle. ECU was a medical facility at Jonestown and those who tried to escape were always brought there even without visible injury. [Johnson] stated that there was also the Public Service Unit (PSU) which was utilized to punish wrongdoers. When placed in PSU a person would be forced to do manual labor such as washing clothes and cutting logs.
[Johnson] had never heard the term “Angels” utilized at Jonestown.
[Johnson] was questioned concerning the physical description and current whereabouts of the following individuals who, according to [Johnson], where members of the basketball team:
1) Steve [Stephan] Jones, natural son of Reverend Jones, mixed-Indian, male, 19, 6’6″, 190 pounds, black hair and mustache, currently in Georgetown.
2) Tim Tupper, aka Tim Jones, adopted son of Reverend Jones, white, male, 18-19, 5’8″ – 5’9″, 170-180 pounds, blond hair, currently in Georgetown.
3) Jim Jones, Jr., adopted son of Reverend Jones, black, male, 18-19, 5’10”, 170-180 pounds, slender build, dark complexion, black hair, possible mustache, currently in Georgetown.
4) Calvin Douglas, black, male, 18-20, 5’8″ – 5’9″, 170 pounds, off-black hair, currently in Georgetown.
5) Johnny Cobb Jones, legal name Johnny Cobb, aka Johnny Jones, Jr., black, male, 19, 5’8″ – 5’9″, 170 pounds, off-black hair (curly), currently in Georgetown.
6) Lee Ingram (Coach), black, male, 33, 5’9″, 180-190 pounds, short natural thinning hair, currently in Georgetown.
7) Cleveland Newell, brother of Chris Newell and Herbert Newell, black, male, 22, 5’9″ – 5’10”, 170-175 pounds, black hair, currently in Georgetown.
[Johnson] furnished the following information concerning individuals who, according to [Johnson], were not members of the basketball team:
1) Tim Jones, aka Tim Jones Night, black, male, 18-19, 5’5″, believed dead.
2) Lou (Lew) Jones, adopted son of Reverend Jim Jones, Korean, male, 19-20, 5’4″, 130 pounds, brown hair, believed dead.
3) Johnny Jones, Sr., black, male, 25-26, 5’7″, 130-140 pounds, black hair, believed dead.
4) Chris Newell, brother of Herbert Newell and Cleveland Newell, black, male, 14, believed dead.
5) Doug Sanders, black, male, 27-28, 5’6″-5’7″, black hair, believed dead.
6) Jim McElvane, black, male, 40s, 6’6″-6’7”, brown hair, believed dead.
7) Herbert Newell, brother of Chris Newell and Cleveland Newell, black, male, 20, 5’8”, 160-170 pounds, black hair, worked on boat owned by PT, believed dead.
8) Stanley Gieg, white, male, 20s, 5’4″, blond hair, believed dead.
9) Joe Wilson, black, male, 23-25, 5’5″-5’6″, 140 pounds, black hair, believed dead.
10) Don Sly, white, male, 40s, 5’9″-6’, 190 pounds, blond or brown hair, believed dead.
11) Chris O’Neal, unknown to [Johnson]
Bribery or Influence Peddling
[Johnson] denied any knowledge of bribery or influence by PT members, but recalled that in 1976, during the US presidential campaign Reverend Jim Jones brought all the members of the San Francisco Temple, including [Johnson], to see Mrs. Rosalyn [Rosalynn] Carter campaigning for her husband, Jimmy Carter.
Unaware of any discussions regarding the assassination of Congressman Leo Ryan or the existence of an assassination squad. Also denies knowledge of plans to assassinate survivors or defectors.
[Johnson] had heard from other members that there were suicide drills conducted at Jonestown. [Johnson] never attended any of these drills and refused to believe they had occurred. Her personal feeling is that on November 18, 1978, the members were forced to drink the poison and termed the event a “mass murder”, but could not offer any information concerning the persons responsible.
No knowledge of involvement of PT members in any criminal activity.
[Johnson] advised that the radios at Jonestown and Georgetown were utilized by members to send messages between the two locations and to contact relatives in the US. [Johnson] believed the radio was available to all members and on one occasion attempted to call her brother in the US. However, this call resulted in a wrong number, and she could not recall who operated radio on that day. [Johnson] remembered other members had completed calls to the US and never heard any codes used in transmissions.
The following individuals were identified as regular radio operators:
1) Mike Carter
2) Sandy Jones (Deceased)
3) Sharon Amos (Deceased)
4) Maria Katsaris (Deceased)
5) Karen Layton (Deceased)
6) Caroline (Carolyn) Layton (Deceased)
7) Robin Tsetta (phonetic)
8) Andrea Walker
9) Ava Jones (Deceased)
10) Gloria Carter (Deceased)
11) Maryann Casanova
12) Mary Waterspoon [Wotherspoon] (Deceased)
[Johnson] had no knowledge of any written or oral oaths signed by members of the church. She stated that when she
attended meetings in the US she signed blank sheets (8.5″ x 10″) of paper which were allegedly for attendance purposes.
Never heard of any plans to relocate in the event of a mass suicide. She had heard from other members that Reverend Jones discussed mass suicide, but she did not believe them.
Soviet and Cuban Association
[Johnson] advised that the Jonestown compound had received two Soviet visitors in the past five months. One of visitors spoke to the membership and told them that he was very pleased with what was happening at Jonestown. [Johnson] stated that approximately two weeks prior to the first Soviet visit, the membership began Russian language classes. [Johnson] never heard of any plans to move the PT to the Soviet Union and could not recall the names of the visitors.
[Johnson] advised that the only people who could be considered bodyguards for Reverend Jones were Tim Jones, Jimmy Jones and Joe Wilson. These people were always with the Reverend Jones and had a close association with him. [Johnson] never observd these people with weapons except the one time she observed Wilson with a rifle going for target practice.
Contact with California Officials
[Johnson] recalled viewing photographs of Lieutenant Governor Merv Dymally (phonetic) [Mervyn Dymally] visiting the Jonestown compound. This visit was prior to December, 1977.
The only other people [Johnson] recalled seeing were attorneys Charles Geary [Garry] and Mark Lane.
[Johnson] stated that Paula Adams was in charge of Public Relations for the PT. [Johnson] never heard Adams referred to as “Jones’ sexual secretary” and had no knowledge of any government officials being compromised.
Dr. Lawrence [Laurence] Eugene Schacht
[Johnson] advised that Schacht was the medical doctor for the Jonestown compound. She stated that he attended medical school in Mexico and received his degree in Long Beach, California. Schacht was the only doctor at Jonestown and was frequently assisted by Joyce Parks and Sharon Cobb.
[Johnson] could offer no information concerning the acquisition of poison or the identity of Schacht’s associates in the US.
[Johnson] advised that she had no knowledge of any drug trafficking by the PT. The only drugs available were kept in the medical hut.
According to [Johnson], Mickey Mouse dolls were produced at Jonestown and sold in Georgetown. Money raised from the sales was used to buy supplies.
[Johnson] advised that she will return to the West Coast, establish a residence, and seek employment. She will temporarily reside with [name deleted], another returning survivor.
The following information was obtained through observation and interview:
[2 pages of identifying information withheld]