Dec 22, 78 • 2025 • Georgetown-State • 4435

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 1407 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE04435_d.html.]

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GEORGE 04435 270329Z POSS DUPE
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 EUR-12 SY-05 CA-01 MCT-02 SCS-06
AID-05 USSS-00 TRSE-00 FBIE-00 JUSE-00 CIAE-00
DODE-00 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 SSO-00 ICAE-00 INRE-00
PM-05 H-02 INR-10 L-03 PA-02 SP-02 SS-15 SYE-00
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O 222025Z DEC 78 CORRECTED COPY FOR MRN
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC NIACT IMMEDIATE 8553
UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 4435
C O R R E C T E D C O P Y FOR MRN 4435 VICE 4405
E.O. 12065: N/A
TAGS: CDES, CGEN, GY (PEOPLES TEMPLE)
SUBJECT: JURY VERDICT AT CORONER’S INQUEST INTO JONESTOWN MASS DEATHS
REF: A. GEORGETOWN 4281 B. GEORGETOWN 4317

1. JURY VERDICT AT CORONER’S INQUEST INTO DEATHS AT JONESTOWN ON NOV 18 WAS RETURNED TODAY (DEC 22).

2. ACCORDING TO PRESIDING MAGISTRATE HAROON BACCHUS, JURY FOUND THAT 910 PERSONS WERE MURDERED BY REV. JIM JONES AND HIS ASSOCIATES, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE MEDICAL TEAM AT JONESTOWN. DEATH WAS CAUSED BY ACUTE POISONING.

3. JURY ALSO DELIVERED VERDICT ON FOUR ADDITIONAL PERSONS. REV. JIM JONES WAS MURDERED BY PERSON OR PERSONS UNKNOWN; DEATH CAUSED BY GUNSHOT WOUNDS. MARIA KATSARIS, THE JURY DECIDED, COMMITTED SUICIDE BY TAKING POISON. ANN ELIZABETH MOORE (AKA ANNIE MOORE) COMMITTED SUICIDE AND DIED OF GUNSHOT WOUNDS. THE FOURTH PERSON, AN UNIDENTIFIED CAUCASIAN

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MALE, ABOUT SIX FEET TALL, DIED OF GUNSHOT WOUNDS. THE JURY COULD NOT DECIDE THE CAUSE OF DEATH IN HIS CASE, AND THEREFORE DELIVERED AN “OPEN VERDICT.”

4. MAGISTRATE BACCHUS INFORMED EMBOFF [EMBASSY OFFICER] THAT HE DIRECTED THE JURY TO FIND THAT JIM JONES WAS MURDERED, AND THAT BOTH KATSARIS AND MOORE HAD COMMITTED SUICIDE. BACCHUS SAID HE FELT THAT ENTRIES IN MOORE’S DIARY INDICATED THAT SHE COMMITTED SUICIDE, AND THE FACT THAT KATSARIS WROTE A WILL JUST BEFORE HER DEATH INDICATED THAT SHE TOO COMMITTED SUICIDE. BACCHUS ADDED THAT IN HIS OPINION THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE IN THE CASES OF JONES, KATSARIS AND MOORE TO JUSTIFY ANOTHER DETERMINATION, AND THAT IF THE JURY HAD RETURNED ANOTHER VERDICT, THE ENTIRE DECISION OF THE JURY COULD HAVE BEEN LEGALLY CHALLENGED.

5. DURING DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING THE JURY’S VERDICT, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER OF POLICE “SKIP” ROBERTS INFORMED CONSUL THAT HE MAY RELEASE LATER THIS EVENING (DEC 22) THE NAMES OF ADDITIONAL PEOPLES TEMPLE MEMBERS WHO ARE FREE TO LEAVE GUYANA.

BURKE [John Burke, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana]

UNCLASSIFIED

Originally posted on March 25th, 2020.

Last modified on July 5th, 2022.
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