There is an interesting ruling by Judge Donald J. Cosby of the District Court in Fort Worth on a curious property claim. Cosby has ordered Allen S. Baumgardner Sr., the owner of Baumgardner Funeral Home to return the coffin that once held the body of Lee Harvey Oswald to his brother, Robert Oswald, 80. Baumgardner was attempting to sell it for roughly $90,000 and was accused of concealing the coffin’s existence from Oswald’s family members. Cosby described that Baumgardner was engaging in “wrongful and wanton and malicious conduct.” It is a bit creepy too. Baumgardner’s slogan is “THERE WHEN YOU NEED US.” Indeed, they often appear in places that you don’t need them . . . like auction houses trying to re-sell the casket of your family member.
After assassinating President John F. Kennedy (and himself being killed by Jack Ruby), Oswald was originally buried in the $300 pine bluff casket on Nov. 22, 1963. His remains were removed from the casket in 1981 in a later investigation to confirm that the body was indeed his body from dental records. He was then buried in a different casket.
Allen S. Baumgardner was accused of some truly dishonest dealing in the matter. The family in 2010 was forced to sue Baumgardner after they learned that the original casket was still in existence and was being sold via an auction house in California. The sale was halted.
What is interesting is that the reports indicate that the coffin was in fact sold to an unidentified buyer for $87,468. That appears to be the damages but it is not clear if that was meant to go to the undisclosed buyer. The reports indicate that it is to go to the brother.
Notably, the brother wants the coffin for only one purpose: to destroy it. That sounds like an excellent idea.
Baumgardner will now have to pay amount equal to the sale price — $87,468 — in damages as well as $10,771 in storage fees to the auction house and $611 in travel expenses (and any additional storage fees at the rate of $215 a month). The funeral home must also pay for transport of the coffin. This is all in addition to its legal fees. That is far more than what Allen S. Baumgardner wanted to get from his despicable effort to hide and sell the coffin.
Of course, there is also the cost of anyone with any sense refusing to do business this the funeral home, which is accused of an act that is tantamount to grave robbing. Baumgardner’s attorney attempted to put a good face on his client’s disgraceful greed. Brett Myers of Dallas said that the Baumgardners “did not act maliciously. They’re not those kind of people.” Well, I am not sure what type of people they are but they are not any people I would want to do business with . . . or ever meet.
You can see the coffin (which is in bad shape) with the New York Times article here.
Source: Washington Post