John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

The mysterious murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer

The mysterious murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer


John William Tuohy

She was as beautiful as she was gifted and talented. An exceedingly wealth and intelligent woman who outwardly exuded the strength of her Brahman roots. She had everything and then it all came to a sudden violent end at around 12:10 PM on October 12, 1964. Mary Pinchot Meyer, 43, a one-time lover of President John F. Kennedy was murdered without reason as she strolled along the towpath of the C&O canal in the Georgetown neighborhood in Washington DC.

For some it was nothing more than another senseless murder in our nation’s capital and for others, many others it is one of the more mysterious deaths associated with the Kennedy Assassination


No one is positive about what exactly happened but it all seems to have happened in about 10 seconds.

Mary was strolling along the C&O canal path in Georgetown as she usually did on most days when someone came up from behind her, grabbed her in a tight embrace, pinning her arms to her sides. Athletic and strong, she fought back.

Then the first shot was fired. The weapon was a .38 caliber pistol.  The bullet entered one and a half inches to the front of her left ear and traveled from left to right and struck the right side of the skull, then ricocheted back to where it was found in the brain and excited through into the back of her head and caused a massive smattering of blood that covered her face, gloves and clothes.

Remarkably she broke away and stumbled across the towpath, dripping blood on the stones, to the wooded embankment that borders the path and then clung to a nearby birch tree, smeared her blood on it.

The assailant seized her again and dragged her from the embankment across the towpath, a distance of over about 22 to 25 feet, again her blood speckled the dirt path. She continued struggle and then second shot was fired downward through her right shoulder. The bullet pierced the right lung and the aorta, the heart’s biggest blood vessel killing her instantly.

The evidence shows that in both shots the gun was virtually touching her body when it was fired. An FBI ballistics expert testified, the “dark haloes on the skin around both entry wounds suggested they had been fired at close-range, possibly point-blank”.

Mary Pinchot Meyer was born to wealth and privilege. She was the elder of two daughters born to Amos and Ruth Pinchot. Amos Pinchot was a wealthy lawyer and a key figure in the Progressive Party who had helped fund the socialist magazine The Masses.

 Her mother Ruth was Pinchot's second wife and was a journalist who wrote for such magazines as The Nation and The New Republic. She was also the niece of Gifford Pinchot, a noted conservationist and two-time Governor of Pennsylvania. (below)

Pinchot and her younger sister Antoinette (nicknamed "Tony") were raised at the family's Grey Towers home in Milford, Pennsylvania.

 Left-wing intellectuals like Mabel Dodge, Louis Brandeis, Robert M. La Follette, Sr., and Harold L. Ickes were regular visitors.

Mary (above)attended the Brearley School in New York and Vassar College, where she became interested in Communism. She started dating William Attwood, the journalist and future diplomat while he was at Choate, It was there that she met John F. Kennedy during a school dance in 1936.

After her graduation from Vassar in 1942, Mary worked as a journalist, writing for the United Press and Mademoiselle and in 1945 she married Cord Meyer was the son of a wealthy New York family.


 His father, Cord Meyer Sr., was a diplomat and real estate developer.

Meyer Sr.

 his mother, Katherine Blair Thaw, belonged to a Pennsylvania family that earned its wealth in the coal business but the bulk of the Meyer fortune came from the Brooklyn sugar refinery and later supplemented by investments in the banking and construction industries.

Cord Meyer

Cord was educated at St. Paul's School, New Hampshire and in 1939 he enrolled at Yale University to study English and philosophy but left in 1941 to join the Marine Corps serving at first as a machine-gunner platoon leader in the Pacific campaign. Shrapnel from a hand grenade at the first battle for Guam cost him his left eye. His was twin brother Quentin was killed on Okinawa. Cord was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

He was articulate, passionate and intelligent and had written dispatches from the front for The Atlantic Monthly and at age 26 he wrote a short story ''Waves of Darkness,'' that won the O. Henry Prize in 1946.

Cord Meyer emerged from the war with strongly pacifist views which is supposed to have led him into helping to create the United World Federalists, a group dedicated to creating a one world government and a disarmament of all nations.

Cord with Albert Einstien, a supporter of the United World Federalists

He a special assistant to perennial candidate Harold Stassen, a member of the American delegation to the San Francisco conference to create the UN and played, at the least, some role in creating the UN’s charter.  

He then enter Harvard as a postgraduate research student where the Meyers eldest child Quentin, named for Cord’s brother, was born in November 1945, followed by Michael in 1947. At that point Mary became a full time homemaker and attended classes at the Art Students League of New York. In 1950, a third child, Mark, was born and they moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts while Cord attended Harvard.

Cord Meyer, 1948

Cord Meyer left Harvard in 1951 to join the CIA's international organizations division. (He had probably been working with the agency, unofficially, since 1949.)

Cord explained his departure to friend and family by telling them that he was growing increasingly trouble by world events and his weariness of the Soviets communists, especially their concerted efforts to take over the United World Federalists. His suspicions of Moscow grew deeper when the Soviet blockaded Berlin in 1948, developed an atomic bomb in 1949, and by North Korea's attack on South Korea in 1950.

His career as a cold warrior was temporarily stopped when Senator Joseph McCarthy accused Meyer of being a communist and he was denied a clearance after an FBI background check. The Bureau explained that that they had been investigating Meyer and Mary for being members of subversive organizations which included the National Council of the Arts of which Norman Matton Thomas of Cold Spring Harbor, who was co-founder of the Civil Liberties Union and six-time Socialist Party candidate for the Presidency, was also a member.

It was ridiculous and the investigation was dismissed at an internal inquiry of the CIA. But it effected Meyer   "He turned into something of a fanatic” a workmate said “and became more Catholic than the Pope. From a commitment to peace and amity, he shifted toward anti-communist fervor".

Operation Mockingbird, was a campaign by the CIA to influence media both in the US and internationally. The operation, which lasted into the 1970s, had originally been farmed out to intelligence contractor Frank Wisner in 1948. But in 1951, future director of the CIA Allen Dulles took the operation in-house and played a large role in supervising its day to day dealing and then handed it over to his Meyer who made the program extremely effective for the agency.

In the meantime, Cord Meyer created a lifelong friendship inside the CIA with James Jesus Angleton who had married Mary’s close friend from Vassar, Cicely d'Autremont.
Angleton circa 1948

Angleton was a fanatical anti-communist who would later nearly tear the CIA apart in his search for Russian moles working the agency’s senior staff. But in the 1960s, the CIA top agent William King Harvey was convinced that Angleton, who went on to become Chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Section, was a mole and in 1970 CIA agent Clare Edward Petty, who had discovered that Heinz Felfe was a Soviet mole in the West German intelligence agency, produced a report which accused Angleton of being a possible mole.


When Cord joined the CIA, then located in downtown DC, the family moved to Georgetown and were inside members of the Georgetown society click. John and Jackie Kennedy bought the house next door to the Meyers place on O Street. 

The Kennedys and Meyers lived near each other in Georgetown when Kennedy served in the Senate and Jackie was said to have taken walks with Mary along the canal towpath where Mary was eventually murdered. John Kennedy and Cord Meyer knew each other from prep school and didn’t like each other.

By the early 1950’s the family had moved out of the city to the suburbs of Northern Virginia where the CIA had recently built a massive headquarters in McLean Virginia. Hundreds of top CIA families had also made the move to Mclean.

Despite being insider, in many ways they didn’t fit in. Unlike almost all other CIA wives, Mary was a loud critic of the agency and likened CIA Director Allen Dulles to Machiavelli, this despite the fact that her husband had taken a drastic right turn in his life and that most of their friends were influential members of the CIA.

Cord was dissatisfied as well. He was spending most of his time in Europe, running Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and managing millions of dollars of U.S. government funds worldwide to support progressive-seeming foundations and organizations opposing the Soviet Union but he had become disillusioned with his CIA career and he missed his family. He tried to land a position in the publishing industry but no offers were made.

That summer Mary and her sister, Antoinette, went on holiday to Europe. While they were in Paris they met an old friend, Ben Bradlee, who was working for Newsweek. They divorced their spouses, wed in 1956 and settled in Washington,
Bradlee circa 1950

Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee was a member of the Boston Brahmin Crowninshield family. He attended Dexter School before finishing at St. Mark's School and Harvard where he was a Greek–English major. He received his naval commission two hours after graduating in 1942, joined the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Toni and Jackie 

The Bradlee's and the Kennedy's at the White House 

Bradlee, who eventually became the managing editor of the Washington Post when it cracked the Watergate story, had said that he worked for CIA front created by Cord Meyers, the Office of U.S. Information and Educational Exchange and had been involved in distributing CIA propaganda and that Robert Thayer, the CIA station chief in Paris, had paid him money to pay for travelling expenses. Bradlee described how "(Thayer) reached nonchalantly into the bottom drawer of his desk and fished out enough francs to fly me to the moon."


While Mary was vacationing in Europe, the Meyer’s golden retriever was hit by a car on the curve of highway near their house and killed. Cord told colleagues that he was afraid the same thing might happen to one of his children. And it did.

On December 18, 1956, Mary's nine-year-old son, Michael, was hit by a car on the curve of highway near their house. Mary heard the screech of tires and the crash and rushed from the house. The driver had become hysterical. An ambulance was called but it was already too late, the boy was dead. Before she left with the ambulance Mary stopped and comforted the driver who accidently killed her son.

Two year later the Meyers divorced. They had grown apart amidst rumors of Cord Meyers alcoholism, or possibly because of the stress of his career or possibly because of Mary’s alleged affair with Jean Pierre, an Italian noble while she was in Europe.

Cord Meyer agreed to leave and took a place in Georgetown while Mary continued to live with her two sons in the family home in the Langley section of McLean while they waited to complete the separation time required for a divorce.

It was around that time that Cord’s friend and colleague CIA spy James Angleton, Godfather to the Meyer’s children, begun tapping Mary telephones.
Several months later Mary filed for divorce. 


Her petition alleged "extreme cruelty, mental in nature, which seriously injured her health, destroyed her happiness, rendered further cohabitation unendurable and compelled the parties to separate." Reportedly Cord Meyer was furious at the legal description since he believed himself to be in the right.

With the divorce behind her, Mary took her sons and moved to Georgetown in the District of Colombia where she began painting again in a converted garage studio at the home of her sister Toni and her husband, Ben Bradlee.(Below)

 She soon took up with abstract-minimalist painter Kenneth Noland. (below) But she was seeing other men as well.

Nina Burleigh, in her book A Very Private Woman, writes that after the divorce Meyer became "a well-bred ingénue out looking for fun and getting in trouble along the way."

 "Mary” a friend recalled “was bad,"

In January of 1962 Kennedy ended his affair with Judith Campbell Exner,(Below) who was also involved with Chicago Mafia boss Sam Giancana.

 According to Campbell’s very doubtful story, she was acting as a go between for the Chicago mob and the White House.

Kennedy dropped her because of pressure from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover who demanded an end the affair in the name of national security and because the Outfit was starting to pressure the White House for favors.

That same month Kennedy called Mary, then 42 years old and single, told her he wanted to see her at the white and would send a car for her. She agreed.

She had rejected other offers from Kennedy. One evening when she was attending a White House function, Kennedy prosed that Mary stay behind afterwards so they could have time together. It surprised her. While Mary was a very attractive woman, her sister Toni was said to be the more beautiful and Mary assumed JFK had already fixated on Toni, in fact Toni said that on JFK’s 46th birthday party in 1963, the President made a pass at her which she rebuffed.
Mary at a Kennedy function 1962

The couple met in the White House whenever Jackie was not in Washington and most of their evening were predictable. They usually had drinks and dinner alone. 

White House gate logs show Mary signed in to see the president at or around 7.30 p.m. on fifteen occasions between October 1961 and August 1963 and always on dates when Jackie was known to have been away from the White House with one exception when her whereabouts are not verifiable by White House records or news reports.

Mary on right, her sister Toni is second from the left

The affair lasted until Kennedy’s death.

On at least one occasion she brought six marijuana joints into the White House and smoked on of them with JFK. There was speculation that she introduced him to LSD, since she was also a friend of Timothy Leary who supplied her with the drug.

None of it was new to Mary. She was thought to have experimented with psychedelic drugs as early as 1958, having been introduced to the drug by Alfred M. Hubbard, a former World War II OSS agents, uranium entrepreneur.

She was supposed to have met with LSD guru Timothy Leary in the early 1960s. In the spring of 1962, Mary approached Leary for advice on how to teach lessons on how to conduct LSD sessions, claiming that her group of eight women was having amazing success “turning on” top Washington officials. She told Leary that their aim was to make the government officials less militaristic.

She called Leary a few weeks later, frightened and highly agitated, because one of the women she attempted to recruit notified the authorities about the LSD plan and asked if Leary would hide her for a few days if the need arose.

Kennedy didn’t make much of an effort to hide the affair. In October 1963, one month before his assassination, he wrote a letter to Mary, on White House stationery, asking her to join him for a tryst.

The letter reads "Why don’t you leave suburbia for once – come and see me – either here – or at the Cape next week or in Boston the 19th. I know it is unwise, irrational, and that you may hate it – on the other hand you may not – and I will love it. You say that it is good for me not to get what I want. After all of these years – you should give me a more loving answer than that. Why don’t you just say yes?"
The letter went unsent, and was kept in the personnel files of Kennedy's secretary Evelyn Lincoln. Lincoln estate sold the letter in June of 2016 at auction for just under $89,000.

Charles Bartlett, a journalist who ran the Washington bureau of the Chattanooga Times, and a close friend of Kennedy's became concerned about the affair: "I really liked Jack Kennedy. We had great fun together and a lot of things in common. We had a very personal, close relationship... Jack was in love with Mary Meyer. He was certainly smitten by her, he was heavily smitten. He was very frank with me about it, that he thought she was absolutely great.... It was a dangerous relationship."

It was dangerous game. The very close nit White House staff, who gossip constantly about everything and everyone, certainly knew or at least suspected the affair was going on. Mary had once forgotten her slip at the White House only to have it mailed back by staffer in a sealed White House envelope.

Mary’s relationship with JFK was standard gossip among DC’s elite clicks and within the clubby Washington press corps and someone could have talked. Also, James Angleton had bugged Mary telephone and bedroom in Georgetown and Philip Graham, the owner and publisher of the Washington Post, suffering from mental illness, stood before a large hall in Arizona full of publishers and announced that JFK was having an affair with Mary.

Philip Graham

James Truitt, a close friend of Mary’s and a vice president at the Post quickly led him off the stage and it was widely assumed that it was Truitt who had told Graham about the Kennedy-Meyer affair. Graham he committed suicide in August 1963.

The fact that James Truitt had probably blathered about the Kennedy-Meyer affair to a mentally unsound Phil Graham did little to improve Truitt’s relation with Tony and Ben Bradlee.


When Ben Bradlee became manager of the Washington Post he forced Truitt out of his job as the papers vice president by claiming that he was mentally incompetent.

Truitt moved to Mexico and tried to get the information from Mary’s diary published but not a single publishing house would take the manuscript and then JFK’s mob girlfriend Judith Campbell Exner published a book about her affair with Kennedy and the National Enquirer took Truitt’s story and published it in early 1976 and the main line media picked up the story

At the time that Truitt was working with the National Enquirer, his wife had sought a conservatorship as part of their 1969 divorce and support proceedings due to Truitt’s declining mental state that caused him “ to impair his judgment and cause him to be irresponsible" and a court appointed conservator was named to manage his financial matters. He had also flooded the Ben Bradlee and others rambling and bitter letters threatening exposure of alleged scandals.

James Truitt committed suicide in 1981.  His second wife alleged that his papers and copies of the material from Mary’s diary had been stolen by a CIA officer.


On November 22, 1963 an assassin murdered John F. Kennedy. According to the very highly doubtful memoir of CIA operative and Watergate break in convict E. Howard Hunt, (Below) Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson wanted John Kennedy killed.

Hunt said that LBJ took the plan to known Kennedy hater Cord Meyer and Meyer spoke to CIA chief David Atlee Phillips who brought in CIA super agents William Harvey and Antonio Veciana, who had their own problems with the Kennedy bothers.


The group called the plan to assassinate Kennedy “The big event”

Meyer, or one of the ring members, then met with Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City while others in the circle met with another future Watergate bungler and CIA operative Frank Sturgis in Miami and enlisted David Morales who worked in the CIA Directorate for Plans, which included operation Executive Action, a series of projects designed to kill foreign leaders. It was, the theory goes, Morales was the gunman and a Frenchman who was a member of the Corsican Mafia  named Lucien Sarti, to be the second shooter in Dallas.

Lucien Sarti


At the exact moment that Mary Meyer was being murdered, a man named Henry Wiggins, who worked at the M Street Esso station, (on right in photo below) was jump starting a car on Canal road directly across from the part of the towpath where Mary was murdered.

Standing three quarters of a mile away from the crime scene, Wiggins said he heard a woman scream out from down on the C&O canal "Someone help me, someone help me," from the towpath down below from where he was and then heard two gunshots. He ran to the edge of the wall overlooking the towpath and "saw a black man in a light jacket, dark slacks, and a dark cap standing over the body of a white woman…"

The red arrow marks the spot where Wiggins was standing when he saw the man standing over Mary's body

Wiggins told police that the man then placed a dark object in the pocket of his windbreaker and disappeared into the wooded embankment leading down to the Potomac.

Wiggins raced back to his gas station and called the police who arrived from the Georgetown substation within five minutes at 12:26. The cops closed off the towpath to trap the gunman and then began a careful search of the area, guns drawn. The police came upon a young white couple walking up the towpath only a few minutes from the murder scene. They were questioned and released. No one bothered to take their names or check their ID’s.

Wiggins was the source of the first media reports that said a witness had seen Mary struggling with a black man before she was shot, which was later changed by the police to read that a witness (Wiggins) told them who had seen a black man standing over Mary body after she was shot.

Actually, the man was standing behind the body, near the woods, making it seem that the man, hearing the commotion, had just walked up from the rear on the towpath and stumbling upon a dead woman stared at her in shock. When he looked up and saw Wiggins looking at him, he turned and walked away.

The curious thing about Wiggins was his claim that he had heard a woman shout out cries for help and then later changed his story to say he heard a woman scream from 50 yards away over the constant roar of traffic along that very busy section of roadway. It is more likely that he heard the first gunshot and ten seconds later heard the second shot and then raced to the wall.

Arthur Ellis, a seasoned photographer for the Associated Press took pictures on the canal when Mary was murdered recalled that the crime scene was unusual "The police kept us on the other side of the canal for a long time. I took the picture with a long-angle lens, and when I look at it now I wonder who all those men in the picture were”


Approximately forty minutes after the murder, Washington D.C. Police Detective John Warner spotted Ray Crump about a quarter of a mile from the murder scene. Crump was the only person on the towpath after it was closed

A black man from the poorest part of the city, Raymond Crump Jr. age 25, was dripping wet when the policeman first saw him. As described by Wiggins, Crump was wearing dark pants and a peaked golf cap but he had no windbreaker on despite the briskness of the day and the zipper to his pants was open. (When asked by detectives back at the station why his fly was down, he said the police unzipped it)

It was one of those strange oddities that although he didn’t recognize him at the time Wiggins knew Crump. They had gone through elementary school together.

There was no mention of Cramp being or even seeming to be intoxicated. It is important to note that Wiggins, and second witness, never saw Crump with a gun and both witnessed described seeing a man who stood between 5’8 and six feet and weighed about 180 pounds. Crump stood 5’3 and weighed 127 pounds.  Wiggins also said that the man he saw standing over Mary’s body had no blood stains on him.

When questioned, Crump said he had gotten wet when he dropped his fishing pole into the canal and went into the water to try and retrieve it. Yet when police went to Crump’s home they found his fishing pole and tackle box in the hallway and his neighbors reported that when Crump left the house that morning he wearing a white windbreaker and carrying no fishing tackle.

As the police questioned Crump on the canal, Henry Wiggins spotted Crump and started yelling that Crump was the man he saw standing over Mary Meyer. At that, Crump was arrested. A records check showed Crump had a prior record for petty crimes, mostly shop lifting.

Five dozen policemen searched every inch of the towpath for the murder weapon for two days but it was never found. However they did find Crump’s white windbreaker along the shoreline of the Potomac River (The Potomac runs close to the canal area)

The police called in Navy scuba divers to explore the adjoining canal and the FBI drained that portion of the canal and scanned the remaining mud with metal detectors and then sent divers into the nearby Potomac as well.

Several hours after he was arrested and tossed into the back seat of a police cruiser, Crump was driven downtown and charged with homicide and arraigned before U.S. Commissioner Sam Wertleb who ordered him held without bail.

No paraffin tests were done on him. Police did note that he had no blood stains on his body and an FBI search of his clothes showed no fibers from Mary Meyer’s body or residue from a gunshot. The coroner’s report showed no hair or fibers belonging to Crump on Mary’s corpse. However it was the coroner’s opinion that the murder was done by a professional killer who knew exactly where to place the death shots; one to the temple and one through the heart.

Officially, Mary was identified at the D.C. Morgue eight hours later by her brother-in-law, Ben Bradlee who arrived at the morgue with a Georgetown pharmacist Doc" Dalinsky, a local character.

The police had found the name “Meyer” written on the inside of Mary’s glove and the cops called all the Meyers in the DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland suburban phone books. The last call they made was to the home of Mary Meyers in Georgetown. That was at about 5:30 in the afternoon.  However in his memoirs, Ben Bradlee wrote that a friend of his, Wistar Janney, a high placed member of the CIA, called his office at “lunch time” presumably after 12:20 when Mary was killed, to tell him that his sister-in-law Mary Meyers had been murdered on the canal. How did the CIA know Mary Meyers was dead a full five hours before the DC police knew who she was? 

 Wistar Janney, above and below on far right with Cord and Mary Meyer

When police did search Mary’s apartment and home, they didn’t find one single item to relate her to any other person on earth. There were no photos of her children, husband or extended family. Ray Crump’s lawyer assumed that someone had “cleaned” the apartment before police arrive.

When he returned home, Bradlee got a call regarding Mary’s diary. In the years to come Bradlee would give four conflicting versions of the events surrounding the Mary’s diary, a diary that very likely contained detailed descriptions about her affair with Kennedy and sordid details about the type of sex they had. 

(The night Mary was killed) "Two telephone calls that night” Bradlee wrote later “from overseas added new dimensions to Mary's death. The first came from President Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger, in Paris. He expressed his particular sorrow and condolences, and it was only after that conversation was over that we realized that we hadn't known that Pierre had been a friend of Mary's. The second, from Anne Truitt, an artist/sculptor living in Tokyo, was completely understandable. She had been perhaps Mary's closest friend, and after she and Tony had grieved together, she told us that Mary had asked her to take possession of a private diary 'if anything ever happened to me.' Anne asked if we had found any such diary, and we told her we hadn't looked for anything, much less a diary.”
Ann Truitt

The odd thing about the second call, the one from Anne Truitt is this; who told Ann Truitt that Mary was dead? After all she was around the world where there was at least a 12 hour time difference from DC and the media had not yet broken the story or released Mary’s name.

Bradlee said that he and his wife walked over to the studio to find the diary  and to their surprise they found James Angleton in the process of picking the lock with special tools.

Angleton explained that he was looking for Mary’s diary because, he said, it was not something he considered appropriate for public disclosure. (Perhaps referring to Mary’s affair with Kennedy or something more sinister) Bradlee recalled that he found Angleton in the house a second time, still looking for the diary. Bradlee eventually found the diary and gave it to his wife who handed it over to Angleton to burn, although why she couldn’t burn itself is unknown.

When, in 1976, a friend and journalist asked Angleton about the Enquirer story that he had broken into Mary’s home, Angleton said that he had been acting in a private capacity for the family, not for the CIA, and then added, without being asked, that the agency had nothing to do with Mary’s death.

It is widely assumed by conspiracy theorist that Angleton could only have learned of the diary from Mary’s former husband Cord Meyer, although it was never made clear why Angleton wanted the diary.

Angleton served as an usher at Mary's funeral, leading the mourners to their seats in the chapel.

The next day a man named William Mitchell showed up at the Georgetown station house to report that he had been on the canal jogging that morning and saw Mary Meyer being followed by a “Negro male” wearing clothes nearly identical to those of the accused killer, a man named Ray Crump, Jr.

Mitchel identified himself as an Air Force Lieutenant on assignment to Georgetown University as an instructor in the mathematics department. For a while the Georgetown University assignment explained Mitchell’s presences on the canal. The university over looked the spot where Mary was killed. It was logic he could be there.   

William Mitchell testified for the prosecution and then vanished and efforts by dozens of writers to locate him through military records, phone book listings, and other means proved futile.

Georgetown University had no records of "William L. Mitchell" ever teaching at the college. No one in the math department had ever heard of him.

A check at the Pentagon listed Mitchell in the Department of Defense directory in the fall of 1964 as "2nd Lt. William L. Mitchell." But by the winter of 1965 there were no more notations of him. However Army personnel records released in 2015 and 2016 under the Freedom of Information Act, corroborate his ties to the intelligence community.

In 2014, Mitchell gave a deposition which he hoped would establish a lack of complicity in the murder of Mary Mayer but most of his statements seemed to be an attempt to misrepresent details about his military service career and training. He repeatedly denied he had any link to the world of intelligence in the face of military records that clearly show he had intelligence affiliations that contradicted his deposition testimony.

After eight years of reviewing the material on Mitchell military career Peabody Award-winning journalist retired Lt. Col. Roger Charles, a specialist in intelligence writing said that Mitchell’s military record were “a nightmare of discrepancy.” and that “The Army personnel accountability system has completely failed in Mitchell’s case. I no longer have any doubt now that Mitchell was working in some capacity for the CIA. If he had just been a straight MI [military intelligence] guy, none of this record confusion would have taken place. The only explanation that makes any sense at all was that Mitchell was so exotic, so extraordinary, that they could just not make him fit, because he really wasn’t just an Army officer. And the fact that they tried to make it fit, and succeeded for more than fifty years, I give them credit for that – but at the end of the day, when you get all the paper together that our bureaucracies generate, the people who were trying to cover this up couldn’t get it all under control.”


Raymond Crump Jr., a day laborer of limited mental ability and the accused killer of Mary Pinchot Meyer, sat in a jail cell for ten months before his case was brought to court. According to Crump, following his arrest, the police tried to beat a confession out of him but they didn’t get, probably because Crump may not have completely understood the charges against him.

A few days after Mary murder a minister from Ray Crump’s poverty stricken Southeast DC neighborhood phone, phoned the city’s leading black defense attorney, the legendary Dovy Roundtree. (Below) He acquittal rate for her clients charged with murder was an astounding 80%.

The minister and asked Roundtree to meet with Ray Crump’s mother and a delegation from their neighborhood and she did. The group, which included the minister, said that Ray Crump, while admittedly an alcoholic, was slow minded but “a good boy” who was married and had five children. No one had ever seen Ray Crump with a gun at any point in his life.

What they left out was that Crump was certainly capable of violent behavior. His former wife carried a scar on her neck from a knife attack by Crump and told reporters that Crump was prone to strange violent states where he seemed to blackout from reality.

Roundtree agree to look into it and met with Ray Crump in his prison cell. She describe Crump as terrified tiny little man who asked “Lawyer, what is it they say I done?”

Crump told the lawyer that he had missed the truck that would take him to his morning construction job and he decided to stop by the home of a girlfriend “to see if she was interested in doing something.”

They bought a six-pack of beer and a small bottle of gin and drove to the canal area, where they had sex, something they had done in the past. He said they laid on the grass, he drank too much and fell asleep and the girl lifted him out of the car and left him there. He woke up, his zipper down, and pushed his way through the patch of woods and almost walked on Mary’s corpse.

Why did he turn and leave Mary Meyer's corpse on the towpath?

His answer was because (it in those days, especially in Washington DC.), leaving was the smartest move for any black man to take on a murder scene of a white woman.

Roundtree believed that Raymond Crump, Jr. was a scapegoat “So far as I am concerned” she said “there is in the complex and tangled web of certain truth and unconfirmed rumor, of the inference and speculation and intrigue that surrounds the life and death of Mary Pinchot Meyer a single critical fact: Raymond Crump’s innocence in her murder.”

Decades later, Roundtree said “I think the word went out that Mary Meyer has got to go. When that happens you are just as good as dead. And Crump was the perfect patsy.”

She took the case for a fee of one dollar, required by law.

Crump’s case looked like a slam dunk for the prosecution and although the evidence against him was strong it was circumstantial. The government had no murder weapon, and no hair, blood or fiber, no forensic evidence whatsoever to show that Crump had any contact with the victim, or the crime scene. Nor did they have any evidence in the form of powder burns to suggest that he’d fired a gun on the day of the crime and despite the fact that Pinchot Meyer bled profusely from her head wound, no trace of her blood was found on Crump's person or clothing.

When Crump came to trial, Judge Howard Corcoran ruled Mary Pinchot Meyer's private life could not be disclosed in the courtroom and Mary’s  back ground was also kept from Dovey Roundtree  who later recalled she could find out almost nothing about the murder victim: "It was as if she existed only on the towpath on the day she was murdered."

Regardless, Roundtree ripped the state’s case apart. She got a federal government mapmaker to admit that there were other possible exits from the towpath that were not sealed off by the police and she hammered Henry Wiggins into stating that he had only a quick, fleeting glimpse at Mary on the towpath and could not positively identify Crump. She used the police report taken from Air Force Lt. William Mitchell who described the man he saw on the towpath as "about my size" (Five foot eight) a substantial difference from Crump’s 5'3".

During the trial Bradlee's was asked by prosecuting attorney Alfred Hantman whether he had made any effort to gain entrance to his sister-in-law's art studio on the evening of the murder.

Bradlee said yes he had.

"Now besides the usual articles of Mrs. Meyer's avocation, did you find there any other articles of her personal property?"

Bradlee replied, "There was a pocketbook there," adding that it contained keys, a wallet, cosmetics, and pencils. He made no mention of the diary.
Decades later when Hantman learned about the existence, contents and alleged burning of Mary’s diary it would have completely changed the result of the trial. 

He probably didn’t mention the Mary’s diary because by destroying it immediately after her death, Ben Bradlee and the other might have committed an act of obstruction of justice and essentially Bradlee elected to commit perjury on the witness stand as the following exchange between Dovey Roundtree and Bradlee shows.

Dovey – Mr. Bradlee, I have just one question.
Bradlee – Yes, ma’am.
Dovey – Do you have any personal, independent knowledge regarding the causes of the death of your sister-in-law?  Do you know how she met her death?  Do you know who caused it?
Bradlee – Well, I saw a bullet hole in her head.
Dovey – Do you know who caused this to be?
Bradlee - No, I don’t.
Dovey – You have no further information regarding the occurrences leading up to her death?
Bradlee – No, I do not.
Dovey – Thank you, sir.  I have no further questions, Your Honor.
Dovey Johnson Roundtree was shock at learning of the diary's significance 

"How differently my line of cross-examination would have run had I been aware, on July 20, 1965, of the story Mr. Bradlee told thirty years later in his autobiography . . . James Angleton's awareness of the diary's existence and his interest in finding it, reading it, and destroying it – all of that unsettled me deeply when I read Mr. Bradlee's 1995 account, as did his insistence that the diary was a private document…Had I been aware of it, I would have felt compelled to pursue it."

Dovy Roundtree, 1995

Roundtree concluded her case without calling a single witness. The jury found Crump not guilty within an hour.

Crump left Washington for North Carolina within two hours after the trial was over on money borrowed from Dovy Roundtree who feared for the little man’s life. He returned to DC months later and returned to work as a day laborer.
Crump would later be arrested 22 more times for a variety of crimes that included raping a 17-year-old daughter of a friend, dousing his second wife’s home with gasoline and setting fire to it while she and her children were inside, and threatening his second wife with a gun to the point where she jumped out a window to escape him, breaking her ankle and fracturing her collarbone in the process. He served time in a North Carolina prison.


Mary in 1964

By the fall of 1964, Mary was, as the Washington Post described her “a Georgetown artist with a hundred thousand friends"

With the boys gone off to school, she moved into a studio apartment behind her sister’s house between N and O streets, at 1523 34th Street NW, where she also kept her studio.

In January of 1964, about 60 days after the JFK assassination, someone started breaking into Mary’s apartment. She filed two police reports about it.  One report stated that she believed someone had been in her house while she was away and another stating that she saw someone leaving her house as she entered.

She had been seeing several men before she was murdered, one recalled her as “very idealistic woman and a pacifist” but “a prima ballerina assoluta.” “She was what women were meant to be”

She was said to have grown close to Bobby Kennedy after JFK’s murder, bringing speculation that she and Bobby were also having affair.
When the Warren Commissions finding were released Mary bought a paper back condensed version of it the day it was released and started reading it and like most Americans didn’t believe.

Timothy Leary said that after Kennedy was killed Mary called him and cried “They couldn’t control him [JFK] anymore . . . He was changing too fast . . . They’ve covered everything up . . . I’m afraid. Be careful.”

James Angleton was placed in charge of the CIA’s investigation of the Kennedy assassination and became the CIA’s liaison to the Warren Commission and the FBI for the exchange of information on the assassination. During his investigation of the events surrounding Kennedy’s death Angleton focused exclusively on Oswald’s involvement and refused to follow other leads.
It was an odd twist of fate that Angleton and his wife, Cicely, Mary’s lifelong friend, had been invited to a poetry reading at Mary’s house that evening. They planned to go to dinner afterwards.

On the day she was murdered, a chilly but sun filled day, Mary Pinchot Meyer, who would turn 44-years old in two days, finished what would be her last paining and decided to take a walk down by the canal as the painting dried.
She dressed casually in slacks and tennis shoes and made her way down the to the towpath, the wide dirt path that runs alongside the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal from which horse pulled the boats down some parts of the canal, runs the length of Georgetown along the Potomac River and is divided from the city streets by a dense wooded area.
Life was difficult for Cord Meyer after Mary’s death. Although he remained unknown to the world outside of the beltway that came to an end in 1965 when President Johnson appointed Admiral William Raborn to head the CIA, the White House accidently revealed the guest list to the ceremony and their position at the CIA.

Cord was identified as director of labor, student and education operations. What the title meant was that he was in charge of distributing clandestine funds through a wide range of front organizations from CIA front   organizations like the Fairfield Foundation. Other suspected fronts that he used for dolling out the cash were said to come from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, but that has never been proven. The object, according to Meyer, was simply to "make it possible for the American point of view to be represented".

Then in 1972, Cord was caught asking a friend at Harper and Row publishers for proofs of Alfred McCoy's book about south-east Asia's heroin trade so it could be vetted by the agency before publication.

That same year, during the Watergate scandal, it was learned that Eugenio Martinez, a Cuban activist on the CIA’s payroll, was among those who burgled Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist office in a hunt for evidence about the leaked Pentagon Papers. When Watergate staffers asked Cord Meyer about he told them the break in was properly authorized and warned them off it. Instead the staffers forwarded his tiny threats to the press.

That was enough. The CIA was done with him. The agency sent him to London. “They put me out to grass” as he said. He was angry and bitter and for the longest time many people inside the Washington Beltway assumed that Meyer was Deep Throat, the informant in the Watergate Scandal.

Meyer retired from the CIA in 1977 to write his memoirs (''Facing Reality'') and a series of newspaper commentaries with a conservative bent and almost 20 years he was a nationally syndicated columnist. He also won the prestigious O. Henry Award for writing.
He died at the age of 80 in March of 2001.

Cord Meyer

In his 1982 autobiography Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA Cord Meyer wrote, "I was satisfied by the conclusions of the police investigation that Mary had been the victim of a sexually motivated assault by a single individual and that she had been killed in her struggle to escape."

But he refuted the publication-approved statement in his 1983 CIA-censored book. When asked “Who killed Mary?” he responded, “The same sons of bitches that killed John F. Kennedy” 

Carol Delaney, the longtime personal assistant to Meyer, later said "Mr. Meyer didn't for a minute think that Ray Crump had murdered his wife or that it had been an attempted rape. But, being an Agency man, he couldn't very well accuse the CIA of the crime, although the murder had all the markings of an in-house rubout."
In a recent check on the murder case, a writer discovered that Mary’s bloody sweater, which was being held in cold storage at the DC Coroner’s office, along with all other hard evidence in the case except textural police reports, is missing.

Towards the end of his life James Angleton (Below) suggested to a reporter, off the record, that Mary had been murdered because she had somehow discovered the identity of a Soviet mole in the CIA’s hierarchy.

Some believe that Mary’s diary is under lock and key at the CIA’s headquarters and has never been officially logged allowing the agency plausible denial against freedom of information requests about the diary. 

There is a small group of researcher writers who believe that perhaps most of the persons named in this tale were not what they said they were. Perhaps they were double agents or intelligence moles for the Soviet Union or unknowingly answering to a radical but powerful group within the KGB and maybe that’s what Mary knew.   

Many decades after incident Henry Wiggins told researcher that he felt “Set up” to be on the road overlooking the canal where Mary was killed. By the time he returned to the murder scene, the car he was sent to jump disappeared from the scene. The station had no paper work to the call. 

Despite all the clues that may or may not lead to CIA involvement all of the practical and logical evidence points to Ray Crump Jr. as the murderer. He had to means (A weapon and the element of surprise), the motive (Rape) and opportunity. (Being alone on the canal with her)

A lack of physical evidence does not necessarily mean innocence of the accused. But there was some physical evidence. Crump had fresh wounds over his left eye and his right hand that he may well have gotten in his struggle to murder Mary.

As to William Mitchell, the man who saw Mary and Crump on the canal, it is entirely possible, in fact it is more than probably that he’s telling the truth about what he saw and who he is.

It is more likely that Lt. William Mitchell was being a good citizen when he reported what he saw than it is that he was a contract CIA killer who murdered Mary for reasons that have never been proven.

This of course begs the question; why did he lie about his job?

Washington is America’s spy central. Out spies, their spies. There, I would venture, hundreds and hundreds of covert operatives in Washington. They work here, they live here. They raise their families here. They retire here. 

In their day to day life among their fellow citizens, they guard what they say because they have too. Very few people in Washington DC say they work for the CIA. They say they work the US State Department which is true. The CIA falls under the state department. 

When a reporter asked Lt. William Mitchell what he did for a living, which might lead to other questions, he probably decided to end the questioning then and there. He was a teacher at Georgetown University.

If the federal government does keep professional killers are the payroll, it would be reasonable to assume that they would be far more efficient and less messy in murdering than the fiasco that happen on the canal that day.

It is also important to know that Georgetown is a dangerous part of the city. It always has been. Stick ups, burglaries and sexual assaults are common there. While Mary’s murder wasn’t commonplace, it certainly wasn’t shocking. 

It is also important to understand that the spot where Mary was killed was within walking Distance, just across the Key Bridge, to what was then the seedy, crime ridden Rosslyn, Virginia, a place noted for its pawnshops, questionable used car dealerships and criminal hang outs. One of them could have easily walked the ten minutes across to the C&O in search of a victim.

 The lingering questions about Mary Meyer’s death will probably never be put rest. The case is officially unsolved, but the case is also officially closed.