Historical Notes: Kennedy murdered Marilyn Monroe

AS THIS century draws to a close the ghost of Marilyn Monroe continues to haunt an era. She was larger than life and died suddenly, prematurely, and mysteriously. Troubling questions still surround her death.

While many have despaired of the truth being told in their lifetime, 36 years after Monroe's alleged suicide startling new information has evolved regarding the circumstances of the film star's death. Recent statements by key witnesses, a re-evaluation of the autopsy report, and new documentation now establishes Marilyn Monroe was a murder victim, and that she died shortly after a violent argument with Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General of the United States.

The release of a top secret Central Intelligence Agency file documents what heretofore had been speculation. Dated 3 August 1962, the day before her death, the document establishes that Monroe's home had been placed under electronic surveillance by the CIA in the last months of her life. Concerned about her "trysts with the President and Attorney General", the CIA file states that Monroe kept a "diary of secrets", a journal of her private conversation with Jack and Robert Kennedy, and that she was privy to closely guarded government secrets.

While there always had been speculation that Robert Kennedy was involved with Monroe's death, the official story was that the Attorney General was in northern California that weekend. However, the retired Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates has now admitted that Kennedy was in Los Angeles on the day Monroe died, and in 1985 Eunice Murray, her housekeeper, revealed on the BBC documentary Say Goodbye to the President that Robert Kennedy had visited the film star's house in the hours before she died.

Norman Jefferies, Mrs Murray's son-in-law, was recently interviewed for the first time and proved to be an eye-witness to the events that took place at Monroe's home on the day she died. Jefferies said the Attorney General arrived with the actor Peter Lawford in the mid- afternoon of 4 August 1962, and there had been a violent quarrel. Jefferies revealed that Kennedy had threatened Monroe and her psychiatrist, Dr Ralph Greenson, was called to quiet her down.

Jefferies stated that Kennedy returned at approximately 10 o'clock that evening with two men he didn't recognise. Told to leave the premises, Jefferies and Mrs Murray waited at a neighbour's house for Kennedy and the two men to depart. Upon returning to the house later, they found Monroe comatose in the guest cottage, where she died. Jefferies said Monroe's body was moved to the main house by officers of the LAPD intelligence division and that the "suicide in the locked bedroom" scenario was orchestrated by the intelligence officers.

A re-evaluation of Marilyn Monroe's autopsy report establishes that she didn't die of an overdose of sleeping tablets, but by an injection of a barbiturate. John Miner, Assistant Los Angeles District Attorney, who was present at the autopsy, has never been convinced that Marilyn Monroe committed suicide. Miner believes the evidence points to murder, and he has requested that the Los Angeles District Attorney's office re-open the case and have the her body exhumed. There's no statute of limitations on murder, and there's more than ample evidence to support the re-opening of the Marilyn Monroe case. John Miner and many others feel that Monroe should not bear the stigma of a "probable suicide".

The doors of officialdom in Los Angeles are not likely to open readily to a new investigation. On the other hand, if the case isn't re-opened and if witnesses are not called to testify under oath, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis may be proved correct in saying, "Marilyn Monroe will go on eternally."

Donald H. Wolfe is the author of `The Assassination of Marilyn Monroe' (Little, Brown, pounds 17.50)