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Old 4 Sep 2009 , 04:46 AM   #233
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The former headquarters of Jim Jones' 'Peoples Temple' religion {A}(Albert Pike Memorial Scottish Rite Temple, 1859 Geary Boulevard) is a six minute drive away from {B}The Bohemian Club headquarters in San Francisco. Albert Pike was co-founder of the Ku Klux Klan

Bohemian Grove ritual


Maxine Harpe grew up in the small Northern California town
of Willits where she married her high school sweetheart, had
three children and settled down to a quiet life in Talmadge,
that is until 1969, when Jim Jones targeted her for
assassination. In a little more than a year, Jones and his
aides would destroy Maxine's marriage, family, career, and
love affair. They would steal her children and her life
savings and drive her to the brink of suicide.

Temple strongarm man and Mendocino County Welfare worker,
Jim Randolph, initiated a love affair with Maxine intended
to break up her marriage and bring her into the
congregation. Every relationship pursued by Jim Randolph, or
any other Temple member, required the prior approval of the
Temple's Relationship Committee and Jim Jones, who not only
issued binding judgments on proposed relationships, but also
proposed many himself. Maxine quickly fell in love with
Randolph; attesting to Jones' ability to pair villain with
victim. Spurred by Randolph's encouragement, Maxine left her
husband and moved into a Temple communal house with her
three children and Temple member Mary Candoo. During this
difficult transition period, Maxine was counseled and
encouraged by her welfare caseworker, Linda Sharon Amos, a
high ranking Temple aide who claimed to have once been a
member of Charles Manson 's gang
. Amos helped Maxine secure a
job as a dental assistant at the Mendocino State Mental Hospital in

Linda Amos and Jim Randolph were only two of the estimated
fifty Temple members who had infiltrated government agencies
in Mendocino County, but their function in the Welfare
Department was one of particular importance to Jim Jones.
Together with their colleagues, Amos and Randolph were able
to license several Temple operated foster care homes and
protect several additional homes that were unlicensed and

Jones convinced his congregation that their children would
have a richer life experience living apart from their
parents. Families were disbanded and a the children, who
were now eligible for welfare assistance, were placed in
Temple foster homes. The children's welfare support checks
were signed over to the Temple and provided a substantial
portion of Jones' government subsidy. The Temple welfare
activities were not restricted to simple fraud; many Black
children were taken from the ghettos of San Francisco and
Oakland using tactics that bordered on kidnapping.

The illegal use of the Mendocino County Welfare Department
appeared to escape the attention of the Department director
Dennis Denny. Though it was impossible to ignore the Temple
foster care homes and to ignore the the Temple welfare case
workers, Denny never seemed to make the connection. Carrie
Minkler was one of the few case workers in the Welfare
Department who was not a member of the Peoples Temple. Ms.
Minkler, now retired, recalls working with Amos, Randolph
and other Temple members:

"You didn't open your mouth. You didn't mention
the Peoples Temple in our department. Even the
walls had ears. There wasn't anything that went
on in our office that Jim Jones didn't know the
next day...Peoples Temple workers went through
other workers' case files. The CIA could have
used them. The atmosphere was really tense."

It didn't take long to surround Maxine. She had a Temple
lover, a Temple house with a Temple roommate, a Temple
social worker, a Temple job with Temple co-workers, even the
attorney representing her in the divorce case was Temple
attorney Tim Stoen. The Temple was also Maxine's religion
and recreation. By March of 1970, every aspect of her life
depended upon the Peoples Temple as Jim Jones pulled the
plug on her life support system.

Three weeks before her death, Maxine received a check for
$2,493.81; her share of the divorce settlement. She signed
the check over to Randolph, whe deposited $2,000.00 in his
personal checking account and $493.81 in his savings
account, as per Jones' instructions. Once her life savings
were safely in Temple hands, everything bad happened to
Maxine at once.

Jones ordered Randolph to end his relationship with Maxine
and she was heartbroken. She was fired from her job. She had
no means of support; Randolph had all her money and wouldn't
give it back. She went to Linda Amos for financial
assistance from the Welfare
Department, but Amos not only denied her request but, in
addition, judged her a "mental depressant" and threatened to
place her children in a Temple foster care home as she was
unfit to be a parent. Her roommate, Mary Candoo, would
certainly parrot Amos' accusations.

Maxine realized she was under siege by a well organized
attacker and sought help from her attorney, Tim Stoen, but,
of course, her protest fell on deaf ears. She then turned to
the one man who seemed to be at the center of her problem.
She confronted Jones the day before her death. Jones was
furious and thoroughly humiliated Maxine in front of
Randolph and other Temple members who remember him saying,
"Why don't you just kill yourself? Get it over with!.... At
least Judas had the guts to kill himself. Others recall
Jones predicting, "That bitch (Maxine) is going to die,"
just one day before she did.

Everywhere she turned, Maxine felt an ever increasing
hostility. After the March 27th confrontation with Jones,
she was so afraid the Temple would take a more physical
approach to their harassment that she made a special request
to bring home a houseful of Temple children, whose presence,
she hoped, would discourage a physical assault. She was

On March 28th at 1:30 AM, one of the children spending the
night at Maxine's house wandered into the garage to find
Maxine dead; hung by an electrical extension cord from the
roof rafters. A hastily scribbled suicide note on a torn
grocery bag instructed the children to phone the Temple in
Redwood Valley and wait in the house until they arrived.

Jim Jones, Jim Randolph, Patty Cartmell and Jack Beam
arrived at Maxine's house sometime before
dawn. Jones waited outside in the car while the others put
on surgical gloves and entered the house to remove any
evidence of Maxine's involvement with the People's Temple.
They untied the body, lowered it to the garage floor and
disrobed it to remove a red prayer cloth that belted the
waist. Temple members often wore these blessed prayer cloths
in concealed places on their person.

The body was then
redressed and rehung, carefully re-staging the scene for the
police investigator. The aides then ransacked the house to
locate and remove anything that might associate Maxine with
the Temple. They completed their work at approximately 8:30
AM, instructed the children to phone the police, and left.

Jones was safe in his Redwood Valley parsonage at 8:57 AM
when Deputy Sheriff-Coroner, Bruce Cochran, arrived at the
death scene in Talmadge. Twenty minutes later, Randolph,
Cartmell and Beam returned to the house and informed Deputy
Cochran that the children had phoned them but that they
really didn't know why as they had never met the dead woman.
Cartmell convinced Deputy Cochran that she should remove the
children from such a gruesome scene, and consequently, he
never got the opportunity to question the only eyewitnesses.
One of the children, nine year old Tommy Ijames, would later
recall the event:

"The children called the church before they
called the police, and they came very early in
the morning. They came in there and took all the
pictures of Jim Jones out. .. (prayer) cloths
they took from her, pulled her down
off the (rafter) and took them off her waist,
anything that had to do with the church... Jim
(Jones), he stayed in the car and didn't come
out... They pulled her down and they took the
clothes off her... They were taking all the...
little pamphlets of Jim Jones, and then (after
the coroner arrived) they acted like they didn't
know her...."

The Temple death squad had left Maxine's house twenty
minutes before the coroner arrived and returned just twenty
minutes after he arrived. They allowed him enough time to
assume that he was the first adult on the scene, but not
enough time to question the children, who were quickly
transported away. Such impeccable timing was typical of
Temple operations. Like the other agencies in Mendocino
County, Jones had spies in the Sheriff's office who informed
him of their every move.

Deputy Cochran's subsequent investigation proceeded exactly
as Jones had planned. It was Cochran's job to be suspicious
and he was. There was the unusual placement of a trunk under
Maxine's feet and the unexplained presence of children and
adults, all of whom were members of the Peoples Temple. But
eventually his investigation was to center on Maxine's
financial transactions just prior to her death. Cochran
contacted Jim Randolph's boss, Welfare Director, Dennis
Denny, questioning the legality of a welfare worker
depositing a welfare recipient' check
in his personal account; especially when that same welfare
worker was present at the scene of the recipient's apparent
suicide just three weeks later.

Denny defended Randolph's
actions and assured Cochran that there was no reason to
suspect foul play or improper conduct, but Cochran was not
satisfied. He pressured Randolph for a deposition regarding
his role in Maxine's finances and reluctantly he complied.
In a sworn statement, Randolph told the police that a few
weeks after receiving the money, he transferred $2,000.00
from his savings account to Temple treasurer, Eva Pugh, to
set up a trust fund for Maxine's children. He held the
remaining $493.81 until three days after Maxine's death when
he added that to the fund as well.

If Randolph's statement
is to be believed it would seem that he helped establish a
fund for Maxine's children before herdeath. Randolph
completed the deposition but refused to sign it until
Assistant District Attorney and Peoples Temple attorney Tim
Stoen had the opportunity to review the statement. Randolph
stalled, Stoen stalled, and the statement was never signed.

It was Tim Stoen who finally convinced Cochran to drop the
investigation when he informed him that he (Stoen) was co-
trustee of the children's fund, along with, of all people,
Cochran's boss, Sheriff Reno Bartolmei. Also, to disguise
their true involvement, the Peoples Temple had contributed
an additional $470.00 to the fund, that together with the
initial money and the accumulated bank interest, totaled
$3,000.00 for the three children. Linda Amos, Maxine's
welfare case worker, buttressed Stoen's statements with her
volunteered testimony as to Maxine's depressed state of mind
just prior to what certainly must have
been her suicide. Cochran's investigation quickly lost
momentum. Maxine's death was declared a suicide. The case
was closed and, despite future pleas from ex-Temple members
and the press, it was never reopened.

Richard Taylor, a local Baptist minister who knew Maxine
Harpe, was not satisfied with the superficial investigation
into what he believed as murder. Aware that the Temple
controlled most of Mendocino County, Taylor presented his
arguments in a long letter he sent to the state attorney
general's office in which he asked the state to investigate
Jim Jones' role in Maxine Harpe's death. Taylor was invited
to present his evidence to a deputy in the attorney
general's office but when he appeared to testify in
Sacramento, his notes on Jones were confiscated and he was
told that there would be no investigation due to
"insufficient evidence."

Immediately upon his return to
Ukiah, Taylor and his wife were deluged with threatening
phone calls that they believed "originated from the People's
Temple." Intimidated and frightened, the minister dropped
all attempts to prove that Jim Jones had ordered Maxine
Harpe's death.

Randolph may have avoided signing a statement for the police
but he did not avoid signing a blank statement for Jim
Jones. It wasn't long before he realized his mistake when
Jones presented him with a copy of his previously signed
blank statement which was now a typed confession to the
murder of Maxine Harpe. Only then did he understand why
Jones had instructed him to deposit Maxine's money in his
personal bank account and why he insisted Randolph be
present at the scene of the crime.

The police already
suspected him, and their suspicion, along with the signed
would certainly convict him of murder; especially since the
foreman of the Mendocino Grand Jury, who would bring down
the indictment, was none other than Jim Jones. Randolph was
promoted to the Angels and his only way out was a lifetime
sentence in prison. To further implicate him in Maxine's
death, Jones called him in front of a closed meeting of the
Temple's Planning Commission and, with a dozen witnesses
present, he accused Randolph of killing Maxine. He shouted,
"You know you did it (killed Maxine)!" But for all of
Jones's badgering, Randolph said nothing in his own defense.
Rumors of the Temple's involvement in the death of Maxine
Harpe continued to circulate in the press. Two and a half
years later, Lester Kinsolving penned a series of articles
in the San Francisco Examiner, in which he accused Temple
attorney Tim Stoen of wrongdoing in his counseling of Maxine
just prior to her alleged suicide. Stoen refuted the charges
in a statement that appeared in the Ukiah Daily Journal,
dated September 21, 1972, in which he said:

"The woman referred to (who was not,
incidentally, a member of my church) was
somebody I did not know, had never talked with,
and certainly had never counseled."

Stoen could not have forgotten that he represented Maxine in
her divorce or that he was a custodian of the fund for her
children or was instrumental in suppressing the coroner's
investigation into her death. He must have felt extremely
threatened to publicly report such a blatant, bold-faced

Jones profited from Maxine's death in several ways. He
gained a new Angel; a competent, intelligent slave, Jim
Randolph. He received the $3,000.00 trust fund and the three
children who, following their mother's funeral, were placed
in Temple foster homes and enrolled in the welfare system.
Their welfare support checks were signed over to the Temple
that profited at least $10,000.00 from overcharging the
welfare system and under-caring for the children.

In 1977, a special prosecution unit of the San Francisco
District Attorney's Office, looking into allegations of
illegal activities in the Peoples Temple, cited what their
subsequent report termed "Welfare Diversion," but rather
than pursue the investigation, the DA's office referred the
matter to the city's Department of Social Services and the
City Comptroller's Office with the recommendation that any
evidence that surfaced should be submitted to the DA's
welfare fraud expert, Don Didler. Didler, following the lead
of Mendocino County's Welfare Director, Dennis Denny, did
absolutely nothing. Together, Didler and Denny were very
effective in protecting the Temple's federal welfare

In retrospect, Maxine Harpe's story was a study in microcosm
of the events that would occur some eight years later in
Jonestown, Guyana.

In both cases, the victims were
systematically stripped of all self-esteem and lured into a
total dependence on Jim Jones, who, at the proper time,
denied them everything. Suicide appeared to be the best, if
not the only, alternative. It will never be known whether
Maxine's death was a suicide or a murder. She may or may not
have actually wrapped the wire around her neck, just as the
residents of Jonestown may or may not have voluntarily taken
poison; regardless, there is no doubt that Jim Jones killed
them all.

The Maxine Harpe death is but one of a half-dozen unsolved killings connected to People's Temple during its California phase.
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