3 04-23-87 05:05 ped
Layton seeks third murder-conspiracy trial By PAMELA A.
SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) _ Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark
said Thursday former Peoples Temple gunman Larry Layton was
denied a fair trial in the 1978 conspiracy killing of Rep. Leo
The defense team would have to "go all the way" and provide as
aggressive a defense as possible if they had known the penalty
was a mandatory life sentence, Clark testified in U.S. District
Failure of the defense to realize that one of four charges
against Layton carried a mandatory life term constituted
ineffective assistance of counsel, Clark told U.S. District Judge
Layton, 41, is seeking a third murder-conspiracy trial,
contending the defense in his trial was flawed.
Clark said the defense had an absolute duty to put on the
insanity defense unless it believed the government had such a
weak case. The failure to put on the insanity defense would
constitute ineffective legal representation, he said.
Layton, 41, was convicted Dec. 1 in his second trial of
conspiring to murder Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif., and U.S. diplomat
Richard Dwyer in an ambush at a Guyana jungle airstrip near the
Peoples Temple compound in Jonestown. His first trial, in 1981,
ended with a jury deadlocked on an 11-1 vote for acquittal on the
Dwyer survived, but Ryan, three journalists and a cult
defector died in the attack on Nov. 18, 1978, after an
investigative tour of the camp. Cult leader Jim Jones and 912
followers died that same day in a mass murder-suicide after
drinking a cyanide-laced soft drink.
New revelations during the hearing have confirmed government
suspicians that Layton not only participated in the conspiracy to
kill Ryan, but that he may have instigated the attack, according
to U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello.
The damning disclosures this week could come back to haunt
Although the information released in taped conversations
between Layton and a defense psychiatrist in 1979 could not be
used if a new trial is granted, it could be considered by the
federal parole board if he loses and must serve his prison term,
Robert Bryan, Layton's new defense lawyer, has been required
to turn over all previously secret defense strategy reports,
psychiatric data and notes to the government in pursuing his
claim that the defense failed to adequately represent Layton.
Included in the disclosures was a 1979 psychiatric report by
Dr. Hardet Sukhedeo, in which Layton said he asked Jones to
allow him to blow up the plane expected to take Ryan out of
"We learned what we had suspected, that he operated of his own
free will and not just as a participant, but as an instigator,"
Russoniello said prior to the start of Thursday's session.
Layton purportedly told Sukhedeo he feared temple defectors
would destroy the church if they left with Ryan. He offered to
use dynamite to stop the plane and when Jones refused, he offered
to use a gun. s That was at first refused, but later a woman who
died at Jonestown told Layton he could go ahead with his attack,
according to the tape recordings of the Sukhedeo-Layton
"I am at a loss to explain why the defense opened this,"
Russoniello said the government never knew what was said by
Layton to Sukhedeo.
The government also learned in testimony by Layton's former
lawyer, Tony Tamburello, that Layton lied to psychiatrists when
he said he was taking drugs, tranquilizers on the day of the
Layton was sentenced to life in prison, but was made eligible
for parole in four years. Some legal experts have suggested
there is little liklihood a parole board would release Layton in
less than 10 years _ the minimum usual time in federal murder
"All of this is public. It can be considered (by the parole
board). It raises serious questions about the adequacy of the
counsel he has now got," Russoniello said.
Tamburello testified that Layton's role in the conspiracy and
what he called the "minefield" faced by the defense if Layton
testified, convinced him and other members of the defense team
not to put their client on the stand.