Brother sues over Oswald's coffin

Jan. 18, 2011 at 5:19 PM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Lee Harvey Oswald's brother says the Texas funeral director who sold Oswald's original coffin at auction was not the legal owner.

Robert Oswald filed a lawsuit Friday in Tarrant County against Baumgardner Funeral Home in Fort Worth, WFAA-TV reported. Oswald said in legal papers he paid for the coffin in 1963 when his brother was shot and killed two days after he assassinated President John F. Kennedy and is the legal owner.

Oswald's body was exhumed in 1981 in an effort to debunk some of the conspiracy theories around the assassination.

Allen Baumgardner kept the coffin, a plain pine box, and Oswald was re-interred in a new coffin. He made $160,000 from the sale of the old coffin, Oswald's and his mother's death certificates, and the instruments and table used for Oswald's embalming.

Robert Oswald believed Baumgardner destroyed the original coffin, his lawyer, Matthew Anderson, says. If he gains possession of it, that is what he plans to do.

"Mr. Oswald felt like it was a breach of that relationship and breach of trust to profit from those items against his wishes and basically sell them to the highest bidder," Anderson told the TV station.

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