Mark Richards is serving a sentence of life without parole in the California state prisons for the murder of Richard Baldwin — what was known as the Pendragon Plot, a Murder in Camelot.
The story of the crime and the events around his trial are important, but it is his “other life” that also draws our attention. Mark claims to be a captain in the Secret Space Program with heroic adventures that began when he was a child – eventually taking him off-world to battle alongside alien raptors.
There are too many claims about Mark’s youth to list here:
- In 1957, Mark was with Captain Gordon Cooper at Edwards AFB and spotted a UFO. Cooper filmed the object and Ellis took the film to Washington. (Knights of the Cold War.)
- His ties were not limited to aliens or space adventures. Mark states that his father was good friends with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Mark danced with Bacall at a Mark Hopkins event when he was five or six. (Kerry Cassidy, Project Camelot, Total Recall, Third Interview.)
- After President Kennedy’s 1961 speech committing the United States to put a man on the moon, he and his father met the President in his limousine. Kennedy asked Mark to deliver a top secret message to Charles de Gaulle. Mark was just seven-years old, but Kennedy is said to have trusted him. (Knights of the Cold War.)
- Mark met aliens at various times growing up, including a 9 foot raptor prince who was at the 1961 conference. In 1962, “Mark and his babysitter were attacked by human and non-human [Men in Black], engaging Mark in a fierce gun battle with the enemy. He held his own, defending himself and his babysitter who’d been immobilized by a sonic weapon, until his father and his men could come to his aid.” (Knights of the Cold War.)
- From 1966-1970, Mark participated in various tests involving psychic abilities and remote viewing at Letterman Army Medical Center in the San Francisco presidio. (Cassidy, 7th Interview)
- In 1970, Mark not only graduated from high school, he was one of the human cadets in the Imperial Fleet training program of the Raptor’s Draconian Empire. (Dragonhill web site.)
Jo Ann Richards (Earth Defense Headquarters) summarizes some of Mark’s stated accomplishments as he grew older:
He won national and international titles in fencing, swimming, judo, auto racing, boat racing, shooting bows and guns, building design, writing, education, and social work. He has degrees in history, political science, quantum physics, and education. He was a Rhodes Scholar and has letters from Oxford. Professionally, he has been a history instructor, filmmaker, a teacher, a contractor, and a publisher. He is a prolific writer, and has several books and articles published
As a preliminary matter, Richards is not listed in the database of Rhodes Scholars. Nor is there any evidence for all the degrees he has claimed, apart from his BA in history from Dominican College. As will be shown, to achieve these honors would have required Mark to be in two places at once – three places if his other claims are taken into account. To put this into into perspective, we trace what is known about his life. In Knights of the Cold War. it is stated that Mark has advanced degrees from USC, McGill, and Oxford, including a degree in quantum physics. None of the named schools list “quantum physics” as a specific degree. In Jo Ann’s “Super Soldier Interview” … Continue reading
Mark graduated from high school in 1971 and attended the College of Marin after that, where he was on the 1972 honor roll. On October 25, 1973, Mark was arrested for insurance fraud while walking to one of his classes. The charge related to activities that previous summer, and it was eventually dismissed with the help of his attorney, Carl Shapiro.
Mark transferred to Dominican College and graduated in 1976. He received excellent grades and was active in school affairs. In 1974, he started a new school newspaper, the Metamorphosis, that he pledged would “try to keep most of the ivy up while trying to express some of the better new ideas that could help the students at Dominican find their own goals.” One issue featured a ghost story that is still told today.
Mark participated in the Model United Nations, and was involved in sports. He helped write a walking tour of San Rafael. He met his future wife, Caryn, there. A letter in the court clerk’s transcript states that Mark housesat for a professor during the latter’s extended summer trips, both before and after graduation, leaving him even less time for a covert life. (See California Magazine, Jan. 1983, The Pendragon Chronicles by Richard Reynolds; Reno Gazette, Aug. 2,1982, Interview with the Richards Family.)
Mark claims the rank of Captain. Jo Ann describes him as being a retired US Navy Captain. (Dragonhill Books.) She has also stated that Mark has an active commission. (Super Soldier Talk, interview, Nov. 2018.)
Jo Ann maintains that even as a teen, Mark served as an officer in the armed forces of the United States.
At the age of 13, he was on active duty in the Navy with high security clearance and participated in several training courses. While in high school he was working on a top-secret project at Lockheed and was also a consultant in Vietnam. Mark joined the army after high school, and was a lieutenant during the Vietnam War flying helicopters. In 1973, he went to Chile pretending to be just a student while acting as a courier for his father. Unfortunately, he got caught up in the fighting as the military coup occurred. In April 1975, Mark was involved with the evacuation of Saigon.
(Knights of the Cold War.)
Mark has also said that when he was 16 (1969), he was given an Army “operational commission” to consult with the Stanford Research Institute. (Cassidy, 6th Interview.) There is no military authority for giving a 16-year old a commission and the SRI was not established until 1972. (See, e.g., Journal of Scientific Exploration, articles by Puthoff and Targ.)
In a 2019 post on an internet site forum, Jo Ann is quoted as unequivocally claiming that Mark “served in Vietnam as an Army chopper pilot after high school. He was there for 6 months, starting in the summer of 1972.” (Project Avalon, Problems with Mark Richards’s SSP Testimony, 4/24/19.)
It was not easy to be a helicopter pilot. Those who served had to go through at least two intense trainings. This alone would have taken more than six months. After that, the tour of duty lasted a year. Pilots and other soldiers counted down the days. At the end of the rotation, the pilot was reassigned for the period of enlistment or voluntarily undertook an additional tour. It was not a summer job to take between the first and second year of college.
In any event, there is no verifiable record of Mark being in the military. The only claimed documentation the EDH has provided is a forged medal would place Mark in Navy combat at the age of 15. (Knights of the Cold War, Aug. 15, 2017 podcast; Screen Shot, Project Avalon, Problems with Mark Richards’s SSP Testimony , 4/18/19.)( (The citation purports to give Mark a medal for valor in Naval combat service in Vietnam. Mark has otherwise claimed that he was given an Army operational commission at 16 and did not transition to the navy until much later in his career. (Cassidy, Interview VI.)
Mark was born in June 1953, so the award would have been issued at the age of 15 – rather than 16 as stated in the Knights of the Cold War talk. Either is below the lawful age for combat service. Remarkably, Mark still had time to graduate from high school, particularly since the award would have placed Mark in Vietnam during the middle of the school term.
The document is not sourced. The name is in a different sized font and typeface. The identifying information is redacted. The form identification name is garbled and the orientation of the bottom lines appears to be different than the top. No reason for the commendation is given. This site has not found a similar half-sheet NAVPERS 601-13 form.))
Mark has provided no actual documentation to support either his service as an adult or his ability to fly helicopters and other aircraft. Mark has never identified the unit he claims to have served with in Vietnam. He has provided no photos of him in uniform. There is no record that he was a pilot in any capacity.
After Vietnam, Mark either became a captain in the Navy (Dragonhill News) or made a “lateral move” to serve as a Navy lieutenant (Cassidy, 7th Interview). A Navy lieutenant ranks far higher than an Army one so any move was not lateral. The rank of captain takes 22 years of service and is the equivalent of a colonel. It must be awarded with congressional approval. It was not possible for Mark to achieve this rank.
Transfers to different branches were also not easy to obtain and would have been well documented. In any event, Mark claims he went to college after Vietnam — since he attended college after high school and graduated from Dominican in 1976, he could not have first served in the military.
Jo Ann states that as a Navy officer, Mark served with the Air Force Special Operations. (Super Soldier interview, Nov. 2018.) The Air Force Special Operations Command is limited to Air Force personnel and the command was not activated until 1983, after Mark’s arrest. The EDH also asserts that both Ellis and Mark Richards were part of the USAF Space Command. (Kerry Cassidy Interview, 2012; EDH Dulce Report.) The Command was not activated until 1982, after the events in question and would not have included a retired officer or a Navy captain.
Although the time frame for Mark’s documented activities, including school and work, make his claims to a military career virtually impossible, this site submitted a request to the National Archives to search service records. No records could be found. It is another case of stolen valor. After Jo Ann suggested that the records could not be found because Mark remains on active duty, we checked further. The Department of Defense Manpower Data Center has no records of Mark.
After Mark’s arrest, California Magazine wrote that Mark was a “charismatic storyteller.” They reported that Mark said that he had piloted the Goodyear blimp and filmed television shows. Mark tried to start a business that designed electric cars. There seemed to be little he did not know. Notably, he said nothing about having been an officer who served in Vietnam. (“The Pendragon Chronicles.”)
Part of this became entwined with a darker side. According to one person who knew Richards from childhood, Mark always had “bigger than life” tales about various adventures – from car racing to serving as a bodyguard to a Colombia “businessman.” He “borrowed” money to try to produce a screenplay and narrowly avoided arrest for other matters. One person who knew Mark during this time described him as a “skunk.” At trial, a witness who was a former business partner described Mark as having a “silver forked tongue.”
On Earth and Into Space
Mark once played an alien in a student film (pictured). Although this may be the closest Mark has gotten to having space adventures, he claims he was in contact with aliens for much of his life. At birth, aliens flew saucers overhead in a ceremony to honor him. He played with aliens as a child and attended high level events with his father. While his family lived in England he had magical adventures with raptors, his future love Titania,and Lady Jane.
In 1970 he was in a high school training program with raptors, held in England. Mark states that he had a higher security clearance than the President.
In 1971, Mark allegedly worked with United Nations security personnel at a human-alien conference in Iran. His father, as commander of International Security, is said to have helped organize the event. (Dragonhill.) It is not certain how this fit into his service as a chopper pilot or his high school graduation.
His most active period as a space captain was from 1976-1982. During this time, Mark claims to have been a naval officer who flew various craft, including the SR-71 and alien ships, as well as operating naval vessels. It should be noted that Mark is not listed as an SR-71 pilot.
In March 1978, Mark supposedly was assigned to the top secret Aurora project and went deeper into black ops secrets. Several years ago, Jo Ann Richards promised to post Mark’s assignment papers on her Dragonhill site. We are still waiting. He also headed Project Moondust, which is cast as an Air Force operation to recover crashed alien craft — a naval officer heading an Air Force operation would be remarkable in itself. He helped an alien insect species establish a base on earth.
Mark interacted with at least seven alien species. There were cat people, raptors, and others. In one presentation, Jo Ann Richards showed a slide of a gigantic war beetle that happened to have the same name as a video game character.
Among the vessels Mark is said to have commanded was one of nine Orion-class “atomic battle cruisers,” whose designers included a claimed relative of Mark’s mother. He is said to have served off-planet, fought alongside Prince Nagadraconius, and taken part in several important space battles with aliens, such as China Gates fought in 1977 at an underground Nazi base. These battles included alien attempts to change the very fabric of time of space, which were defeated through heroic efforts of Mark and his father.
In addition to conventional aircraft, Mark claims to have flown Minerva, a biological UFO. Mark was the only pilot who had the telepathic ability to do this – nine others died trying. Minerva is over 40,000 years old and the only one of it’s kind in our solar system. Minerva did not like a crew, so normally he just had one other person, although it could expand and had taken zoo animals on research missions. She was very protective and often would not let him leave the ship if it was dangerous. She treats humans like they are children or pets. The furthest Mark travelled was near Alpha Centauri. (Cassidy, 7th Interview.)
Mark’s story of the underground battle at Dulce, NM, was one of the first of his tales to gain attention. Mark maintains that under his father’s command, he led a 1979 assault that retook a secret base from aliens who had violated a treaty and had abducted humans for experimentation. Ross Perot funded the mission and various others from Marin County are named as being among those who participated in it (none of whom were alive when the story appeared). The EDH has released a report on the mission that claims to have been prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2001, but nothing confirms any part of his story.
Mark was not the first one to speak about a Dulce battle. It has been suggested that he based his account on a 1988 paper by the controversial Paul Bennewitz, Project Beta, that described how Dulce could be infiltrated and attacked. In 1995, Phil Schneider claimed to have participated in a 1979 battle between the Delta Force and aliens armed with plasma weapons at Dulce. Branton and others wrote about a Dulce battle. By the time Mark wrote his report he had ample source material — his account alone places him in the front and center of the claims involving Dulce.
It is not the intent of this article to describe Mark’s stories in detail, but to note what he was actually doing in this period so that his statements can be compared to what is actually on the record. More information on the Raptors and alien alliances can be read at the Astonishing Tales of Mark Richards, which discusses highlights from the Kerry Kerry Cassidy interviews. The Dragonhill site and Knights of the Cold War summarizes some of the battles Mark claims to have fought.
The real story on earth is almost as intriguing. News reports document that in 1976, Mark tried to produce a screen play that was based upon the romantic ventures of Tristan in 6th Century England. Richards had written a paper about Tristan while he was in college. He announced that James Doohan (“Scotty” from Star Trek) had agreed to be in the film, and that the castle-like buildings of the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo would be used for filming. The local newspaper reported receiving dozens of phone calls from people hoping to get a part in the film. It never got off the ground.
The Seminary also played a role in “Futurecastle.” As the Marin Independent Journal reported, in 1977 Mark tried to start a school for future studies there and dreamed of having William Shatner and George Lucas on faculty. It was to offer “innovative academic community dedicated to the origins of a new renaissance.” Mark borrowed money from his parents to rent a hall but apparently never contacted the celebrities. The plan fell through when he could not pay the rent.
Mark became an editor at Seriatim: The Journal of Ecotopia. The journal was based on the Ecotopia novel by Nicholas Callenbach, which envisioned a future country in the Pacifc Northwest that was based on ecological values. The Co-Evolution Quarterly described the journal as a “gang of shoestring Ecotopians over there in El Cerrito.”
The pictured issue (Winter, 1978) lists Mark as an editor in transport and on staff in ad sales, making it clear that he was very much on earth.
As part of the Seriatim core (second from left, pictured in 1978) he sought land to develop their ideas.
In the issue shown here, he wrote a report about loading his future wife’s car with 3000 pounds of the journal to take a road trip to visit other Ecotopians and distribute the magazine. At one point, the person he wanted to meet was not at home so Mark crawled through a window to retrieve past issues. He soon ran into various car problems, got a ticket, and drove until massive engine problems occurred. Mark got timely help from a truck driver and the two shared a marijuana joint after he made it to a garage. At the very least, none of this indicates a military career or involvement in a secret space program.
Mark had a falling out with the Seriatim editors. At one point, he and Richard Baldwin reclaimed items that Mark believed was his and soon after the magazine stopped publishing.
In August, 1979, Mark married his college sweetheart, Caryn, in Marin County. Before his wedding, Mark decided he needed more substantial work. He and a longtime friend formed a partnership, Engineering Constructors, to remodel houses. (California Magazine, “The Pendragon Chronicles.)
The EDH states that shortly after Mark was married, Ellis ordered Mark into battle. (Super Soldier Talk interview, Nov. 2018.). That month, he was injured in a “command roll of the Dragon Squadron.” (Dulce Report.) This was in the Battle of Vesta where he met the cat-people and commanded a battle cruiser in space as part an alliance to defeat enemy aliens. Mark almost died when his ship was ambushed by the “Trog insect-like species.” (Knights of the Cold War; EDH, ”The Battle of Vesta, August 1979.”)
Despite Mark’s recent marriage, he fell in love during the Vesta action with a Nordic alien named Atimpaasa and fathered a child with her.
Soon after Mark was wounded during the Dulce battle. He was a busy man if he is to be believed – but remarkably he had no unexplained absences from home and his wife did not notice any serious injuries. (Kevin Moore interviews with Caryn.)
By 1982, Mark states that he wanted to leave the space command behind. According to Kerry Kerry Cassidy (Third Interview):
[Mark] had lost one child and what he said was a great love of his to the Secret Space Program by that time, and he was very fed up and tired, and very exhausted, and he wanted to resign from the Secret Space Program. It appears though that they did not want him to, and this is part of the reason he was framed in this murder charge that he was not involved in.
It is said that the MI6 murdered Mark’s wife Titania and child in the 70s. After Titania’s death, he began to question authority. (Cassidy, 7th Interview.) There is, however, nothing to substantiate this. Mark had, after all, married Caryn after a long and romantic courtship. (California Magazine, “Pendragon Chronicles.”)
In reality, throughout this period, Richards faced financial difficulties as his business was failing. He is reported to have promised his customers more than he could deliver and used unskilled teenagers to complete projects. Engineering Constructors dissolved in 1981 and a check Mark wrote to his former partner bounced – as did checks to his workers. The economic pressures mounted on virtually every aspect of Richards’s life. (California Magazine, “Pendragon Chronicles.”)
Mark was 29 years old on July 6, 1982, when Richard Baldwin was murdered. Most of the public record concerning Richards has to do with this event, which became famous as the Pendragon Plot. The information below is drawn from news sources and the published court opinions. The EDH offers a different version:
Mark is currently a political prisoner in the California State Prison system. He was arrested in 1982 and convicted in 1984 of a murder he had nothing to do with. It’s a convenient way for the government to keep him quiet, as he knows way too many secrets and would fight against the New World Order with all his might if given the chance.
(Knights of the Cold War.)
Richard Baldwin was Mark’s good friend. Mark’s mother Lois described Baldwin as Mark’s “best friend.” Baldwin had a business restoring classic cars from a garage on Front Street in San Rafael, just a short distance from the Grateful Dead’s Club Front Studio (something that had nothing to do with the crime). Richards met Baldwin when he established a business next door. Baldwin double-dated with Mark, Caryn, and her twin sister. He served as an usher at Mark’s wedding and chauffeured the couple after the ceremony.
At the time of the murder Mark was doing contracting work at Baldwin’s house. Baldwin was known to have cash, guns, and marijuana which made him a target. Trial testimony established that Mark first approached two employees about killing Baldwin, stating that he needed money fast. He offered one a dune buggy and $1000 to commit the crime. When that did not work out, he convinced two other teens that he employed – Crossan Hoover and Andrew Campbell — to rob and kill Baldwin.
Mark had long been working on a book about Pendragon, an Arthurian kingdom set in Marin County. After starting the construction business, he took his took his partner into the Marin Headlands and told him that it would be nice if the area was under his control. Those who knew Mark describe how Pendragon became increasingly real to him. (California Magazine, “Pendragon Chronicles.”)
Mark met with a group of teens, including Crossan, to discuss how Pendragon could be established. Richards would be the king, his group would be knights and hold titles such as counts, earls, or dukes. The theological seminary (pictured) was to be the headquarters; prisoners would be released from San Quentin to help secure the kingdom; laser weapons that had yet to be invented would defend the area from Angel Island and Mount Tamalpais.
Richards told the teens that George Lucas was helping to fund the plan. Willie Robles, a former worker for Richards, described Pendragon as a vigilante group and testified that Mark had paid him to try to recruit new members. Mark took a friend to Mount Tamalpais to demonstrate his plan for an insurrection. He threatened to “eliminate” another former worker if he revealed anything about Pendragon.
Although guns, maps, plans for a laser weapon, and other material relating to Pendragon had been found in Mark’s home after the crime, his attorneys dismissed talk of an uprising and the importance of Pendragon: “Mark’s role-model was King Arthur. Pendragon was the dream of a young man who wanted to be King Arthur. Is that evidence of a crime? He has a creative imagination.”
The defense contended that the Pendragon material was simply part of his fantasy book. Mark’s former wife testified that he was working on a book – Imperial Marin. Mark contended that he never intended to take over the county but used the teens as sounding boards for his novel. The book was set years after the takeover of Marin, so there was no need for a sounding board to discuss a how an insurrection could succeed.
Richards told Hoover that Baldwin was a pedophile, and rapist: “it would be a service to the public to get rid of such a menace.” These accusations enraged Crossan against Baldwin. (Hoover v. Carey.) Mark acknowledged to investigators that he knew Hoover was sensitive against “perverts and homosexuals” and used that to “jerk up” Crossan against Baldwin. Mark stated that he did not know for certain whether Baldwin was gay or bisexual. (See Detective Interrogation of Richards.)
Regardless of whether the murder was linked to Pendragon or more mundane motives, the plans proceeded. Andrew testified that they weren’t going to turn Mark in just because he was talking about killing somebody.
Richards and the teens met with Baldwin, who offered them oatmeal-raisin cookies. Richards and Hoover went with Baldwin to his garage to look at his classic cars. Andrew testified that he stayed in the house. Upon a prearranged signal from Mark, Hoover committed murder. Mark stood next to him as the crime was committed.
The killing took place while Andrew was searching Baldwin’s house to carry out the theft. Mark told Andrew that the murder had been “bloody” and that he wanted to get things out of the house quickly. The three took a small safe, cash, guns, and marijuana from Baldwin’s house. That same day, Mark bought a boat with proceeds from the crime, which was used to dump Baldwin’s body. A security guard questioned Mark when the group arrived at the marina, but let them pass.
As the group headed out into the bay, the boat engine stalled several times and they weren’t able to go as far as planned. They intended to use a carton of weights to sink the body but the rope broke and they had to use a small outboard motor. Richards did not return home until 3:00 a.m.
Because of Mark’s financial problems, both Caryn, Mark’s wife at the time, and a former employee were surprised when Mark bought the boat, gifts of jewelry, and video equipment after the crime. (Murder in Camelot; California Magazine, “Pendragon Chronicles.”) Caryn has said Mark was very emotional after the murder and professed his love to her – asking if she would love him, no matter what. (Kevin Moore, Murder in Camelot trailer.)
Baldwin’s body was found a week after the murder when it floated to the surface. Hoover began to talk about the crime. The investigators received a tip that named Richards as being involved with the killing. The group was arrested three days later as they left Mark’s house in his pickup truck.
Cable and plastic sheeting were found in the truck that matched what was used to dispose of the body. Richards used Baldwin’s checks and credit cards to go on a spending spree. Items associated with Baldwin – including guns stolen from the victim – were found in Mark’s possession. Mark’s fingerprints were found on forged checks belonging to Baldwin and a credit application that he had filled out under Baldwin’s name. Witnesses reported seeing a drilled-out safe in Mark’s garage after the murder was committed.
After the arrest, Hoover gave a lengthy statement to the investigators recounting Mark’s involvement in the crime and admitting his own actions. In a separate four hour interview Richards told the investigators that Baldwin was his friend who had hit his head in Mark’s boat while they were together. Mark maintained that he had used Baldwin’s credit cards with his consent, as a way for Baldwin to start to pay off a debt. When the detectives accused Mark of lying, he acknowledged his financial problems and admitted to having taken items from Baldwin’s house after the crime. He said that he helped to cover up the killing, but blamed the killing on the teens.
Mark was represented by two highly respected attorneys, among the best in the state (Carl Shapiro and Dennis Riordan). The defense attacked the prosecutor’s chronology and Andrew’s credibility, who testified against Richards under a grant of immunity. They argued that although Richards participated in an attempted coverup of Baldwin’s murder, he had done so only out of misguided loyalty to his employees. Shapiro contended that Andrew, not Mark, should have been on trial for murder.
Mark states that the science fiction writer Phillip Dick wanted to testify as an alibi witness but that he was not allowed to do so. Numerous friends were allegedly killed to prevent them from testifying. (Cassidy, Interview IV.) Dick died before the crime was committed, two years before the trial – that Mark’s friends were killed is similarly not substantiated.
The jury deliberated four days before convicting Mark of first degree murder. Mark was stunned, believing that at most he would only be convicted of being an accessory after the fact for helping dispose of the body. After the verdict was announced, he whispered that he had not done the crime.
At least one of the jurors stated that Pendragon did not factor into their decision and that there was more than enough evidence apart from Campbell’s testimony to justify their verdict. The trial court found that there was “overwhelming” evidence to support the verdict. Mark was sentenced to life without parole.
The length of the deliberations in the Richards case arguably indicates that the verdict was a close one. Yet, there was no question that Mark was involved with the murder – the only issue at trial was whether he was the mastermind or an accessory who tried to cover up the crime. There is a substantial difference between the two in legal terms, but neither one squares with Mark’s claim of having been a high level operative. The type of character, skills, knowledge, and connections that the latter would possess is at odds with the events surrounding the Baldwin murder.
Email SpaceCapn. This site is a work in progress that is updated or revised on an ongoing basis. It is an independent project that began with The Story of Captain Mark Richards on the google platform. The views expressed here are own and we do not necessarily endorse any quoted statement or linked site. Not affiliated with “Captain” Richards.
Comments, questions, further information that can be added to this site, or supporting documentation – especially from Kerry Cassidy or Jo Ann Richards (EDH) – are welcome.
“Documenting Captain Mark Richards Since 2011”
© 2011-2022 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.