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Layton Martens

Daniel Meyer

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As I haven't found a Forum Topic on Layton Martens, I'll start one.

Layton was the only JFK/Garrison investigation figure who I had more than a short passing encounter with.

He was a friend, though I knew him 20 years later (from the '80s to his death in 2000) and mostly as a musician.

Layton Patrick Martens (19 February 1943 - 18 March 2000) is known in JFK related circles for his associations with David Ferrie. He was staying at Ferrie's apartment in the Broadmoor section of New Orleans when President Kennedy was killed. Layton Martens was questioned by the Garrison investigation.

Garrison Grand Jury transcript: http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/garr/grandjury/Martens/html/Martens_0001a.htm

Thread "The Houma Arms Cache Raid Revisited": http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=14366

Photo of Layton as an actor in Oliver Stone's "JFK" movie: http://www.jfk-online.com/jfkcameomartens.html

A nice photo by Luke Fontana of Layton playing a jazz funeral: http://lukefontana.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=138

Attached: Scan of Layton Martens obituary, "The Times-Picayune" newspaper, New Orleans, Saturday March 25 2000, page B-5; shared for educational purposes under fair use.

Layton Picayune

[edited to substitute link to copy of image on Flickr for copy taking space on Forum -- DM]

Edited by Daniel Meyer
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Daniel, did he have a stage name?

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Daniel, did he have a stage name?

I'm not aware of any. I see him credited as "Layton Martens" in some of his films. He sometimes went as "Kid Layton" as a jazz musician and bandleader.

Tank you, Daniel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

FWIW: I only asked Layton about JFK/Garrison related things once. (I was somewhat curious, as I'd come across a copy of his Garrison investigation testimony on the internet.)

A week or so before Mardi Gras 2000 (only a couple months before he died unexpectedly died), the two of us were drinking beers after a band rehearsal meeting. He was talking about his acting career and mentioned being in Oliver Stone's "JFK" film. I thought that was a good opening, so I asked (trying to be deliberately on the vague side to see what he said) "So, do you think Garrison had something, or was there anything there, or what?" Layton said that Garrison had nothing, was "full of sh*t" and "crazy". He then said he was writing a book on the subject, which would "clear some things up". I have no idea if he actually put anything substantial on paper, or if he just meant that the idea of writing a book was on his mind.

I considered Layton a friend but I don't put a lot of weight on what he said. Layton was to my mind something of a raconteur. (He did right wing radio talk shows, which I didn't listen to as I don't much care for that sort of thing; some other folks who did might have more insights into his opinions.) Knowing I was into jazz history, he expounded to me his theory of the origins of New Orleans jazz, which was that it arose not from local black nor white musicians, but rather from the mixed race "Creole of Color" community. That doesn't sound like an unreasonable idea on the surface, but I started trying to discuss it with him (with me quoting historical documentation and interviews with musicians born as early as the 1870s), it quickly became clear to me that Layton had absolutely nothing to back up his notion beyond that it sounded plausible. That didn't keep him from continuing to try to argue his "theory" with me and others a number of other times.

A mutual friend told me after Layton died that he repeatedly tried to get him to talk about David Ferrie, without success. I know he did talk at some length with at least a couple of researchers, and was interviewed for a PBS tv show.

Edited by Daniel Meyer
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  • 6 years later...

Layton Martens was a prime obstructor in both the Ferrie and Banister cases.

He was working with Ed Butler in the eighties, when Ronny Ray Gun started his whole nutty Contra war in Nicaragua which both Butler and Martens supported on the radio.  If you read Haslam's book, Butler had some of Banister's files at the time.

Nothing Martens says about the Garrison inquiry should be taken seriously.

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Thanks Jim, yet, I was fishing, from EF member Daniel Mayer, a NOLA resident, for some info on Frenchy. He was the same age as Oswald and a gangster from NOLA. I am baffled as to how he receives no mention in the JFKA. Daniel is a musician. French's murderer was a musician. Daniel may have some information. It may be a new Lead.



Edited by Michael Clark
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  • 1 year later...

Sorry, I don't recall Layton ever mentioning Frenchy, and never talked with Frenchy myself. I saw Frenchy around town, mostly the French Quarter, a couple of times after I became aware of who he was.  I read the book shortly after it came out. I'll reply about that on the thread about Brouillette.  

I haven't heard anything relevant from other musicians.

Some older musicians remembered Carlos Marcello mostly as being a generous tipper. Same from some people who encountered him while working as waiters.  There's a fair amount of unfortunate nostalgia for him around town. 

Edited by Daniel Meyer
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Does anyone interested in Layton Martens wonder about his "live in" situation with David Ferrie when he was just 20 years old?

Martens tells Daniel Meyer that he felt Jim Garrison was "full of xxxx" and "crazy."

Yet, Martens has nothing to say about David Ferrie?

Ferrie was "normal?"

What would a 20 year old young man find appealing about someone like hairless 45 year old David Ferrie and be willing to live with him in his apartment with rat cages? 

You'd think Martens would be rather embarrassed to admit he lived in eccentric David Ferries apartment as a young single man ...no matter how long this situation lasted.

I am sure Ferrie offered free rent accommodations to many young men he may have befriended, but those that took him up on this surely have more to say about the man than...nothing?

Sounds like Marten's personal relationship with David Ferrie was something he didn't want to talk about.

What did they have at all in common anyway that would foster a live-in situation no matter how brief?

Ferrie wasn't into music was he? 

Wonder if Ferrie tried out his hypnotism skills on Martens.

Rick Bauer, a reader in Florida, writes to tell of his personal experience in 1965-66 with David Ferrie, the New Orleans pilot who has been the target of JFK conspiracy speculation for decades.

Bauer writes.


“I am a graduate of Tulane University in 1966. In the fall of 1965 I commenced flight training paid for by the Department of Defense for students enrolled in various ROTC programs. I was a USN scholarship student at Tulane. My instructor was David Ferrie …. I knew Dave from Sept. 1965 until May of 1966. I passed my Private Pilot’s check ride on March 27, 1966.”

Bauer says he admired Ferrie.

“Dave was a terrific flight instructor. Quite honestly I was able to get over the initial hurdles in US Navy primary flight training because of his training and his spin/unusual attitude training followed me for my US Navy career and my 30 years with Delta Air Lines. I finished as an International captain flying to — believe it or not — Moscow, Russia.”

“Dave was both smarter than portrayed in the movie ‘JFK,'” Bauer went on. “And yes perhaps a little crazier. My classmates would agree with this.”


Joe Pesci as David Ferrie

Bauer says mainstream news organizations have never shown an interest what he and his fellow pilots knew of Ferrie.

“Six months ago I approached them about their willingness to speak with media about our experience regarding Dave,” he wrote. “I received no response from CNN or FOX.”

“Same thing happened in 1967 when Jim Garrison came out with his theory, and we called the FBI office. No one wanted to speak with us.

“Sounds something like, Do not confuse us with facts!”

Ferrie’s skin condition

Bauer added a bit of movie criticism to his email.

“By the way,” he wrote, “the wig that Joe Pesci wore in ‘JFK’ the movie was nowhere near accurate.”

“Dave had a skin condition that meant he had no hair,” Bauer went on. “That includes eye brows. He would paint his head and over his eyes with ‘spirit gum’ and then stick what looked like pubic hair shaved off and simply stuck this in place.”

“He always wore a ball cap. We knew he had a previous position as a commercial pilot and was fired on a morals charge but again we assumed underage females. The movie indicated younger boys I believe? I do not recall as much swearing despite his excitable nature.”

Ferrie’s trophy board

“First we saw absolutely no indication that Dave was homosexual,” Bauer wrote in his email. “Actually, this was not a surprise given his position at the time. That would have first been foolish and second, if bisexual, this was not uncommon in New Orleans. ”


David Ferrie

“What we observed in his apartment was a ‘trophy’ board with a pubic hair from his various sexual partners which we assumed were female. Why? He also had Polaroids of him and a black maid or so he said. She probably never did any cleaning since his apartment, which was uptown not in the Quarter, was portrayed accurately in the movie.”

“Dave was always polite and respectful around women. He knew my future wife, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law well during my training since they drove me to the airport. He definitely had a temper and my classmates have clear memories of that trait. He made many negative statements about ‘professional’ military officers. Strange since we were all tracking for that. [He] said the reserves always won the wars”


Flights with Cubans
“He was actively engaged with Cubans. My USMC classmate recalls flights on the weekend to Picayune, Mississippi, in a DC-3 for their training.”

“The company that had the government contract was called ComAir and was operated by a retired USAF Lt.Col whom I never met. This sounds like CIA to those of us with a military background….,” Bauer wrote.

Involved in JFK’s assassination?

In early 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison investigated Ferrie as a suspect in an alleged conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.

Literary scholar Joan Mellen argues Garrison was right about Ferrie. She says Ferrie had known Oswald since they were in the same Civil Air Patrol group. In the summer of 1963, she says Ferrie accompanied Oswald to Clinton, Mississippi, along with Clay Shaw, the New Orleans businessman later indicted and acquitted for conspiring to kill JFK. Ferrie and Shaw, she concludes, help set up Oswald as a “patsy” for the assassination.

JFK researcher David Reitzes disagrees. He says Ferrie had no connection to JFK’s assassination. Reitzes impeaches the credibility of the Clinton witnesses, though he does not have a persuasive explanation for why so many people would have independently and erroneously placed Oswald there at that time.

When Ferrie died suddenly in February 1967, speculation about his role in Kennedy’s assassination, ran riot.

Final thoughts
Bauer sums up his recollections of Ferrie with these words:

“I had close contact with Dave for three quarters of a year. He was employed indirectly by the Department of Defense, had clear connections with Cubans of some stripe … so I feel something is missing” from the way he has been portrayed.

Bauer thinks Ferrie’s service for the U.S. military after JFK’s assassination is significant.



Edited by Joe Bauer
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Layton Martens :

Garrison had nothing, was full of shxt and crazy."

Yet not one word about his weird, weird friend David Ferrie?

One of the most psychologically disturbed characters in the entire JFK story?

This fellow Martens may have been a remarkably engaged and achieving person in the New Orleans world of music, but that alone does not automatically give him credibility in other areas. Especially the Garrison investigation.


Edited by Joe Bauer
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Martens was a Grade A cover up artist about the whole JFK case and his close friend Dave Ferrie.

And he was that way from the very start, back in 1967.  I would not trust anything he said about either subject.

When a guy stonewalls you that hard, he is hiding something.


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Of all the suspicious covert political intrigue characters on Earth to be sharing living quarters with "the day JFK was murdered", Martens rooms with David Ferrie?

David Ferrie, who is at that time very actively involved with extreme JFK/RFK hating individuals and groups like anti-Castro paramilitary forces, Guy Banister, Carlos Marcello and organized crime and who knows what other nefarious entities, many who felt JFK had betrayed them in the Bay Of Pigs or in Marcello's case his humiliating deportation at the hands of RFK, and throw in Bannister's connection to violent white segregationist groups, etc. 

Unless Martens just popped into Ferrie's personal living space irregularly off and on and only late at night and leaving early the next morning, it would seem very unlikely that he ( Martens) would not have overheard the highly opinionated, animated and loquacious David Ferrie say "something" to him, others or even himself, about the assassination and JFK personally in the immediate days and weeks following the assassination and Ferrie's Houston, Texas ice skating adventure the day of this.

Martens never heard Ferrie say anything about this subject at that time and while he is living in the same apartment? Please.



Edited by Joe Bauer
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