Judge: Return Lee Harvey Oswald's casket to brother

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Jan. 31, 2015 at 8:39 AM
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FORT WORTH , Texas, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The original pine casket that Lee Harvey Oswald was buried in belongs to his brother, not the funeral home that sold it at auction in 2010 for nearly $88,000, a Texas judge ruled.

Judge Donald Cosby ordered Baumgardner Funeral Home to return the casket and pay Oswald's brother Robert the auction price of $87,468.

Oswald was shot and killed in 1963 after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and was buried in the $300 pine box. His body was exhumed in 1981 after conspiracy theories suggested a look-alike Russian agent was buried in his place. After testing proved it was Oswald, his body was transferred to another casket and reburied. The original coffin, however, remained with Baumgardner Funeral Home, owned by Allen Baumgardner Sr.

"Baumgardner intentionally made no effort to contact anyone that he had possession of the 1963 casket because Baumgardner saw the historical and market value the 1963 (casket) had and the financial windfall that the sale of the 1963 (casket) could personally bring to him," Cosby wrote in his ruling. "Baumgardner concealed from Robert the existence of the 1963 casket."

Oswald's funeral arrangements were originally managed by Miller Funeral Home, where Baumgardner worked. Baumgardner went on to purchase the business and changed the name.

The Oswald family thought the casket had been destroyed, but later learned it had been auctioned off instead.

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