A Fort Worth funeral home is being forced to return a coffin that held the body of Lee Harvey Oswald to his brother after attempting to sell it for $87,468, according to news reports.
By concealing the coffin’s existence from Oswald’s family members and later offering it for sale, Allen S. Baumgardner Sr., the owner of Baumgardner Funeral Home, engaged “wrongful and wanton and malicious conduct” Judge Donald J. Cosby of the District Court in Fort Worth ruled, according to the New York Times.
Oswald was originally buried in the pine bluff casket after killing President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. His remains were removed from the casket in 1981 to quell conspiracy theories claiming the coffin didn’t hold the accused presidential assassin’s remains, but instead that of a soviet spy, according to the Associated Press. After dental records proved the remains belonged to Oswald, the body was reburied in a different casket due to water damage, the AP reported.
Robert Oswald sued the funeral home in 2010 after his family learned that the original casket was still in existence and was being sold via an auction house in California, according to the AP. The sale was halted and the coffin has remained in storage ever since, according to the Times.
In addition to paying the auction house $10,000 in storage fees, the ruling forces the funeral home to return the casket to the Oswald family as well as pay $87,468 in damages, according to the AP. The funeral home must also finance the cost of transporting the coffin from California to Texas, the AP reported.
Robert Oswald’s lawyer, Grant Grimes of Wichita Falls, told the Times his client was “pleased with the outcome.”
The auction had originally attracted the interest of serious collectors and museums, but not the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, which is housed in the infamous Texas School Book Depository building from which Oswald fired his shots, ccording to CNN.
“It doesn’t really fit what we collect,” curator Gary Mack told CNN back in 2010.
But it is unlikely anyone will ever get a chance to bid on the coffin. Grimes said his client will most likely have it destroyed “as soon as possible.”