Court Fight Over JFK Assassination Artifacts


     CAMBRIDGE, Minn. (CN) – A small town in Minnesota faces a civil lawsuit accusing it of wrongly seizing artifacts related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
     One of the items that the May 14 complaint in Isanti County District Court describes is a Masonic ring once owned by a Dallas police officer who helped arrest Lee Harvey Oswald.
     In reporting on the death of that officer, Paul Bentley, in 2008, the New York Times notes that Bentley’s ring was responsible for the cut over Oswald’s eye seen in photographs of him after his arrest, a product of their scuffle in the Texas Theater where Oswald was taken into police custody.
     Isanti-based plaintiff John Krueger says he bought this ring and firearms for $10,000 from Bentley’s brother-in-law, who had been given the items by the officer’s widow.
     Bentley’s grandson is now threatening to use law-enforcement connections in his home state of Texas to seize the items, according to Krueger’s four-page complaint.
     As part of a search warrant in a criminal investigation of the brother-in-law, the city of Cambridge, Minn., seized the items and now has possession of them, Krueger’s attorney, James Magnuson with Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, said in an interview.
     “I don’t know if he [Bentley’s grandson] is alleging that they were given to [Bentley’s brother-in-law] with the condition that he would not sell them, or if he’s alleging that, you know, he somehow absconded with them,” Magnuson said. “I’m not sure of the nature of his allegation, but I gather what he’s alleging is, ‘Look, this isn’t, you know, this wasn’t supposed to happen.'”
     Authorities in Texas have not responded to his request for more information, the attorney added.
     Based on statements made by Bentley’s grandson, Krueger suspects that the items in question will not be returned to him, even once his rights are established in Texas.
     As such Krueger wants Cambridge to retain possession of the artifacts pending a Texas criminal investigation.
     Jay Squires with Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger PA says Cambridge will ask the court to take possession of the property at a hearing scheduled for May 28, a motion Magnuson said his client will not oppose.
     “The city shouldn’t really be involved in the middle of it,” Squires said of the property dispute, adding that Cambridge officials have no intention of delivering the artifacts to Texas authorities.
     Magnuson agreed – Krueger has no “beef” with Texas or Cambridge authorities, and has no intention of keeping the artifacts if they are found to be stolen property.
     “We just want to make sure that there’s safekeeping, you know, here in Minnesota, until there’s some sort of, you know, pending some sort of clarity as to what’s going on,” he said.