Texas Judge Donald J. Cosby ruled that the wooden coffin that held the body of one of America’s most notorious killers – Lee Harvey Oswald- belongs to his brother and not to a Fort Worth funeral home. According to the ruling, the Baumgardner Funeral Home, owned by Allen S. Baumgardner Sr., engaged in “wrongful and wanton and malicious conduct.” This malicious conduct? Illegally concealing the existence of Oswald’s coffin from his brother Robert in order to sell the infamous killer’s coffin years later.
Lee Harvey Oswald, infamous for killing President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, was buried in the coffin before it deteriorated so as to require a replacement. When the body was exhumed in 1981, and without Robert Oswald’s knowledge, the original coffin sans Oswald was transported to the Baumgardner Funeral Home, where it was intentionally concealed in the hopes of a large payout for the funeral home owners later on.
The original, however, was put up for sale in 2010 by the Baumgardner Funeral Home in Los Angeles and sold to an undisclosed bidder for $87,468. After Robert Oswald filed suit, the sale was halted and the coffin remained in storage at the Nate D. Sanders auction house.
Judge Cosby not only ordered the original coffin returned to Robert Oswald, but also ordered the funeral home and its owner to pay to Robert the sales price of the coffin, the auction house’s storage fees, and travel expenses as damages.
The brother of Lee Harvey Oswald, probably relieved to put the ordeal to rest, plans to destroy his brother’s original coffin as soon as possible, says his attorney, Gant Grimes. The ultimate concealment of the coffin caused emotional and economic loss to Robert Oswald that a Texas Judge has finally put to rest.