6 06-15-87 04:33 ped (1grafld; picksup2ndgraf: u.s. district _ rewording) By ROBERT STRAND

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

6 06-15-87 04:33 ped (1grafld; picksup2ndgraf: u.s. district _ rewording) By ROBERT STRAND SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) _ A federal judge Monday revoked $250,000 bail for Peoples Temple cult survivor Larry Layton because he perjured himself and ordered him to begin serving a life sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. U.S. District Judge Robert F. Peckham issued the ruling on a motion to revoke bail filed by U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello after Peckham ruled recently that Layton perjured himself at a post-conviction hearing. "We do not take lightly willful perjury in this court," Peckham said. Layton quietly handed over his keys and wallet to his lawyer, Robert Bryan, and left the courtroom with a U.S. marshal. Bryan said he was not surprised by the ruling and had advised Layton that revocation was likely. Layton, 41, had been free on bail pending an appeal of his Dec. 1 conviction on charges of conspiring to kill Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif., and diplomat Richard Dwyer on Nov. 18, 1978, at a Guyana airstrip near the Jonestown cult settlement in northeast South America. Ryan was fatally shot, Dwyer was wounded and within hours Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones and 912 of his followers died in a mass-suicide-murder. Layton was convicted on two counts of murder conspiracy and two counts of aiding and abetting the attacks on Ryan and Dwyer. Layton was tried twice on the charges. The first one ended in a mistrial with a hung jury voting 11-1 for acquittal. Layton argued he should be given a third trial because his attorneys during the second trial did not realize Layton was facing a mandatory life sentence and did not so advise their client. As a result, Layton argued he could not make informed decisions about defense strategy. Layton did not testify during the trials, but he did at a post-conviction hearing in April. Peckham later denied a new trial and ruled that Layton's testimony was "unbelievable" and that he "made several untruthful statements." In revoking bail, Peckham found the perjury was probable cause to believe Layton had committed a crime _ a violation of bail conditions, and that Layton showed himself to be "a man of desperation" who now presents a flight risk. The perjury involved statements on the witness stand that contradicted statements he had given psychiatrists in interviews not presented at the trial. Those statements suggested Layton was more of an instigator than a passive participant in the planning of the airstrip shooting. Layton's assertion that he did not know he was subject to a mandatory life sentence was contradicted by two paralegals who reported on conversations they had with Layton during the trial. When Peckham sentenced Layton to life, he recommended he be considered for parole after four years. The recommendation considered the bizarre psychological atmosphere in which Layton was operating and numerous letters from family friends and jurors. The subsequent perjury development likely will be considered at any future parole board proceeding. Layton's attorney denied his client committed perjury but presented little argument to support the denial. Layton was free on bail for five years before his second trial and was again free on bail since March. During those periods Bryan said Layton never was a threat to society. He kept thrice-weekly appointments with a probation officer, worked as a real estate agent and, if successful on appeal, has marriage plans.

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank