- Category: Aquash/Peltier Timeline 1975-2010
January 16, 1976:
Banks arrested in California at Lee Brightman's, in a staged event, according to KaMook Nichols who was then his wife. Bank's later blames an FBI informant for turning him in. Bank's is allegedly interesting in obtaining the political clemency that political supporters of Governor Jerry Brown says he is willing to provide to Bank's regarding South Dakota attempts to extradite him. Banks, not wanting to turn himself without the media present calls police and the media to report his where abouts leading to a raid on the home with television cameras on hand.
|Frank Blackhorse in cuffs|
February 6, 1976:
Leonard Peltier is arrested in Hinton, Alberta Canada with Frank Black Horse, also known as Frank DeLuca, Bruce Johnson, Richard Leon High Eagle, Richard Tall Bull, Mike Houston, Teddy Louis and Teddy Lewis according to police records.
One of Leonard Peltier's defense lawyers, Michael Kuzma in a December 2006 video presentation now on uTube, made a public plea regarding wanting to find Frank Blackhorse because of allegations that he was allowed to remain in Canada (and the U.S. dropped attempted murder charges from Wounded Knee 73, and the shooting of FBI agent Curtis Fitzgerald against him) because of an alleged immunity from prosecution agreement of some kind. This has led to speculation about his role in the Peltier arrest and other activities within AIM. Blackhorse was named a suspect in the RESMURS case itself on the same day Peltier and he made the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List.
Kuzma says, Most people don't realize he Blackhorse was wanted on the same charges as Peltier, plus the warrant regarding Fitzgerald, was arrested with a loaded gun and marijuana, but only was prosecuted for the marijuana. Kuzma also points out, that Blackhorse is one of the only major AIM figures at that time that has not spoken out publicly about Peltier, or any other AIM issue."Something might fishing about that... I think it is very odd," says Kuzma.
According to News From Indian Country sources, who have followed the saga of Frank Blackhorse, he was allegedly living in Ottawa, Ontario under his latest assumed name or in a witness protection program of some kind. Blackhorse while in Denver, Colorado ran with other AIM affiliated members there like Frank Dillon, Arlo Looking Cloud, John Boy Patton-Graham and Richard Two Elk. Blackhorse assumed that name, from his real name DeLuca after a traditional adoption ceremony sponsored by Alice Blackhorse,an associate of Vernon Bellecourt.
In a 1994 interview provided to News From Indian Country by journalist Richard LaCourse, Peltier claims that he spends most of the 78 days between the Marlo Brando motor home bust in mid-November 1975 and his arrest on Feb. 6th, 1976 in the United States. Peltier says that anybody that says otherwise is "full of shit." Peltier has never accounted for his where abouts from November 17, when the car he stole after the Marlo Brando Motor Home bust, was found near Pendleton, Oregon to when he entered Canada in late December.
February 24, 1976
1976: Jane Doe (Annie Mae) is found 10 miles from Wanblee on Hwy 73 on the far northeast end of the Pine Ridge reservation close to Kadoka by Roger Amiotte.
February 24, 1976:
First autopsy - FBI/BIA contract pathologist Dr. W. O. Brown says Jane Doe died of exposure.
February 25/26, 1976:
John Trudell is testifying at the Butler/Robideau trial in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 22, 1976 and tells the court, according to transcripts, "Dennis (Banks) told me she had been shot in the back of the head. He told me this on February, about the 25th or 26th of February.... He told me this in California... I know it was within two days or so after they had found the body and I knew nothing about that". "I was setting in the car with Dennis and he said, 'You know that body they found? That is Annie Mae.' I didn't know about a body." Trudell has told other sources close to the investigation that in the back seat of the car at the same time are Vernon and Clyde Bellecourt.
February 24-26, 1975 - KaMook Nichols testifying during the Arlo Looking Cloud trial in 2004 says that she call Dennis Banks on this day,and notes that it is the birthday of her nephew. During the conversation, Nichols says Banks tells her that they found the body of Annie Mae Aquash on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
February 25-28 1976:
Gladys Bisonnette, picking up the remains of another relative offers to try to identify the Jane Doe held at the funeral home but is told by mortician Tom Chamberlain that only authorized persons are allowed to view the remains. Dennis Banks tells several associates that he has heard that they have found the body of Annie Mae.
March 2, 1976:
Annie Mae buried at Holy Rosary Mission cemetery as Jane Doe.
March 3, 1976:
Severed hands of Jane Doe are identified as Annie Mae's by FBI Identification Bureau in Washington DC. a practice that occurs in cases in which photo identifications can not be made at the time.
March 5, 1976:
Pictou family in Nova Scotia notified of identification of Annie Mae.
March 6, 1976:
FBI announces publicly the identification of Annie Mae.
March 8, 1976:
FBI requests exhumation order. Atty. Bruce Ellison files for exhumation later in the day as well . FBI Agent William B. Wood signs an affidavit regarding the investigative process regarding the preceding handling of the Aquash case and notes:
15. On March 5, 1976, I was informed by Eugene T. York, Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that he had interviewed Anna Mae Tonaquodle on February 19, 1976, at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Tonaquodle is a known American Indian Movement activist in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area and was interviewed in an effort to establish the present whereabouts of Anna Mae Aquash. Tonaquodle stated that she was not personally acquainted with Aquash, but knew Aquash by reputation. According to Tonaquodle, Aquash was believed by American Indian Movement leaders to be a Federal Bureau of Investigation informant.
A FBI report dated March 8, 1976 (70-11023) from Rapid City offices indicates that Bruce Ellison appeared at the office requesting information regarding the autopsy of Annie Mae Aquash. Ellison was (See document of 3-9-76) requested by the agent to furnish any information he might receive concerning the victim's death to the FBI. His reply was that depending on who they determined was responsible for the death would dictate whether or not this information would be furnished to the FBI.
March 10, 1976:
Annie Mae exhumed. Second autopsy conducted by independent pathologist Gary Peterson who says (See testimony of Dr. Gary Peterson) that the severing of the hands in 1975 was a recognized protocol of law enforcement investigators. Bullet entry wound in back of head and slug at the front of a discolored area of her cheek are found immediately, and death ruled a homicide. FBI agents William Wood, Gary Adams according to Dr. Peterson are present during the autopsy. Theda Nelson-Clark comes to Oglala from Denver to ask about the autopsy results on Annie Mae, then goes directly back to Denver.
March 11-13, 1976:
Days of mourning for the women of Pine Ridge.
No leadership members of the American Indian Movement attend though Russell and Ted Means and a caravan of AIM members drive by the wake on the way to an Oglala basketball game. Russell Means later tries to claim he was not on the reservation at all. One person who attended Annie Mae's funeral is Russell Mean's security guard, Richard Marshal, along with his wife Cleo (Gates). Marshal in later years claims that he never knew Annie Mae, or anything about her, but of all people, decided to attend the funeral of somebody he didn't know.
March 14, 1976:
Annie Mae reburied at Wallace Little ranch next to Joe Stuntz despite the wishes of her sisters Rebecca and Mary.
March 18, 1976:
First Federal Grand Jury convenes in Pierre, S.D. to hear evidence in Aquash case. Attorney Bruce Ellison claims that he is immune from Grand Jury inquiry because he had been representing Annie Mae (This was a child custody case involving her daughters in spring of 1975) and any inquiry would violate the lawyer/client relationship.
May 17, 1976:
Attorney Ken Tilsen sends Annie Mae's billfold back to Pictou sisters in Nova Scotia saying in a letter to them, it came to him thru a circuitous route. The billfold was not found with Annie Mae at the site of her execution. Tilsen in a 1999 NFIC interview confirms that the letter is written by him, but says, For the love of him, he can't remember who gave him the wallet, and that, I have no recollection what-so-ever of having the wallet.
Tilsen does not sent the billfold too, nor notify the FBI of its existence.
Tilsen is then representing Richard "Dick" Marshal the person who on Dec. 11, 1975 was handed a note by Theda Nelson Clark allegedly from Madonna Gilbert or Lorelie DeCora which said according to Cleo Gates, "Take Care of this Baggage."
Leonard Peltier escapes from Lompoc Prison in California with the assistance of long time associate Roque Duenas.
October 1, 1981:
42-year-old Roque Orlando Duenas of Tacoma, Washington, another person identified as an alleged FBI informant by Vernon Bellecourt, is killed while on a fishing boat in Tacoma Sound, Washington. His boat is found capsized on October 2nd. Roque's nephew, Henry Davis, along on the boat, is found with a large disfiguring bruise on his forehead. Theremains of Roque's body are found and identified during late July 1994, also with his forehead disfigured according to an interview with John Boy Patton Graham conducted by Jennifer Wade.
An individual, now cooperating with federal authorities on the Aquash murder case, tells NFIC that Roque was another alleged informant that was eliminated, (and names the person responsible off-the-record because of the on-going AIM murders investigation), specifically because of issues related to the Lompoc Prison escape of Leonard Peltier, but also because of incidents within AIM that drew the attention of Vernon Bellecourt and others. Bellecourt allegedly believed that Duenas was another candidate for one of two FBI informants that reported the Brando Motor home in November 1975. [This confidential source of NFIC information, is not a member of the AIM leadership structure in 1973-76 as some discredited AIM members have tried to claim to Editor Paul DeMain ]
According to information provided to NFIC by Monica Charles in December, 2003 "Roque Duenas was killed by a crazy fisherman from the Chehalis Tribe," and adds, "What he did trying to break Leonard out was just sheer stoned AIM stupidity." Charles becomes "a person of interest" and the focus of some investigators because of information and statements she posts on the internet that appear to be an intentional attempt to create confusion in the Aquash and Peltier cases, a commonly used tactic by AIM leaders or supporters over the years to mislead journalists and the public.
Vernon Harper, the head of the Communist Party of Canada in 1974-75 and Toronto AIM, says in a May 2003 Aboriginal Public Television Network (APTN) program that John Graham comes to him in Toronto in 1983, and stays with him for some time. Graham tells him that he is being framed for the murder of Annie Mae Aquash. Harper goes on to say "I know he was involved, I was involved. I was involved in a different part. I was with, I was in, not Dennis Bank's camp. I was in Cly.., I worked with Vernon Bellecourt, but I was also in Russell Means' camp."
Harper says he asks Graham straight, "were you part of it?" Graham said "No... I knew what went on" but he says he believed it was the FBI who are the people and that is what he sticks with."
Second Federal Grand Jury convenes in Sioux Falls, S.D. to hear evidence in the Aquash case. Sugar Bear Martin, from Oklahoma, is another subject of Grand Jury inquiries along with members of the Williams/Nelson family. Martin was transported in custody during a 1984 grand jury inquiry in the case and several letters regarding Martin's summons is the topic of great concern to Leonard Peltier who has two other federal prisoners write letters to his Attorney at the time Bruce Ellison.
Robert Ecoffey, named acting superintendent of the Pine Ridge BIA in 1992 leads an effort starting in 1993 to resurrect an active investigation into the case (See testimony of Robert Ecoffey). Denver detective Abel Alonzo joins the efforts and makes several successful inquires into the activities and events of November 1975 in Denver.
During a Pipe Ceremony conducted by Archie Mosay, Edward Benton Banai and Porky White in Minneapolis in response to the Confederated AIM Chapters indictment of Vernon and Clyde Bellecourt on various charges, the issue of injustices and accusations against AIM, including the death of Annie Mae Aquash are raised and lamented. Vernon Bellecourt in an impassioned speech asks "where is the Native media when it comes to investigations into the death of Anna Mae Aquash, Buddy LaMont, Jeanette Bisonnette and others" killed by the FBI or their goons? Bellecourt then challenges NFIC Editor Paul DeMain, in the crowd at the time to pursue the investigation and offers up the full cooperation of the American Indian Movement in the effort.
Benton-Banai, a Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe tribal member, who spent time in prison with Dennis Banks in the late 1960's is widely attributed as the cultural foundation of the both the prison cultural talking circle and the promotion of an urban Indian movement based on a return to fundlemental traditions and culture. Dennis Banks and Clyde Bellecourt have both pointed to Benton-Banai as backbone of support and ideas as the American Indian Movement was founded.
Benton Banai and Porky White, who both served as Mosay's "Skabewis" during the ceremony confide off-stage to DeMain that the investigation into the Aquash murder may be a troubling one. Vernon Bellecourt in parting words of encouragement asks DeMain to keep him fully appraised of his findings.
DeMain, who is then currently a Skabewis in the Medicine Lodge of Mosay, is offered medicine during early June in order to undertake his investigation. Mosay (Nebahgeshig) in offering the medicine tells DeMain, "Do the work that the people need, so they know the truth. You will be in danger, but those who face the greatest danger will be those who you talk too, be careful with their lives."
Archy Mosay, during this same period had returned from Leaventhworth Penitentiary where a Pipe he had made was not accepted by, or allowed in for Leonard Peltier. Mosay noted, "The pipe didn't want to go in," that tells me something.
Paul DeMain conducts an interview with Dennis Banks during the "Longest Run" regarding Annie Mae in which several members of AIM are named. Banks does not deny that the answers to her demise could be found from further inquiry within AIM. Banks continues to insist that he and others within AIM believe that someone associated with her killing was working for the FBI or some other government entity and "set them up" and his eyes well up with tears as he describes his admiration of Annie Mae.
Third Grand Jury in Pierre, S.D. convenes to hear evidence in the Aquash case. The grand jury inquiry hears evidence from at least 25 individuals from 1994-1995. The grand jury's term expires at the end of 1995 without issuing any indictments to NFIC's knowledge and material is conveyed to new grand jury.
Bob Robideau recites the same general November-December scenario when confronting John Trudell during a public appearance in Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 3rd, 1994. Information about the confrontation becomes public through Internet correspondence in January of 1995. Trudell acknowledges to NFIC that he had heard much of the same information and the names over the years, but denies any advance knowledge of the events when Annie Mae was taken from Troy Lynn Yellow Wood's home in 1975. A transcript from the wire-tapped recording made by Robideau during the Trudell conversation basically shows the same sequence of events chronicled above. Trudell's only public response was the story is Bob Robideau's and David Hill's to tell.
Headstones are placed at the graves of Joe Stuntz and Annie Mae Pictou Aquash. Conspicuous to many people by their absence, and the talk of the day, is the absence of AIM leadership. Dennis Banks does not attend, even though the event was scheduled to accommodate his schedule.
I received a FAXed copy of an article from your paper regarding the death of Anna-Mae Pictou. As Anna-Mae's attorney at the time of her death, I was grateful to previously be sent copies of some of the documents your paper had uncovered regarding the investigation of her murder. Although they contained nothing new (and left out much available), it appeared to me that perhaps your paper was pursuing a serious investigation into the murder of this mother of two. However, you never sent me a copy of the story you published. I had to get a copy from a concerned individual by FAX.
When I read the story, I was disappointed to find it sounding more like an FBI press release or National Enquirer piece than hard journalism. I found it surprising and disturbing to see the paper claim a source told you I had encouraged the rumor that Anna-Mae was an informant. Had you bothered to ask me, I would have told you that this was not true. I HEREBY DEMAND A RETRACTION of this garbage.
Not only was Anna-Mae my friend, but I was also her attorney. Rather than encourage the FBI-generated idea that she was an informant, a rumor I never believed, since well before her death I have continuously spoken out on her behalf against those who were tempted to believe it. There is no credence to the contention Anna-Mae was an informant. You dishonor her and my name to repeat this lie and publish that I had any part in it.
It is terribly unfortunate that one of the leading and few Indian newspapers is so willing to publish such trash in name of journalism. I demand a retraction and a copy thereof to be sent to me. Perhaps you should examine the source of your information and ask why he or she would want to spread such a distortion of reality. I further demand that you identify your source in the retraction so the community can see who is currently generating these distortions.
Whoever pulled the trigger and murdered Anna-Mae, it is clear that the FBI was responsible. They started the rumor she was an informant, as they did to cause the death of Black Panthers a few years earlier. It is curious why in your fixation with Anna Mae's murder, you, like the government investigators, continue to ignore the similarly motivated government sponsored terrorism on Pine Ridge during this same period involving the murders of over 60 men, women, and children. You do not, by your distorted piece, encourage enlightenment and a commitment from the People of this land that will prevent the United States from again violently crushing the efforts of an indigenous movement to obtain a return of sovereignty, enforcement of treaty rights, and basic human and civil rights.
Editor's Note: Assertions found in the Late January 1997 Aquash chronology were double checked with sources and in many cases crosschecked with other information, both on and off the record. NFIC extended confidentiality to some of these sources as allowed under press law and we continue to stand by those sources.
News From Indian Country refuses to retract. Since the January 1997 issue was printed, NFIC has had several, new confirmations about our assertion that Bruce Ellison made comments alleging Annie Mae was an informant in 1975, and that he participated in the questioning (some describe as an interrogation) of Annie Mae when she was in physical custody against her will, and perhaps tied up at WKLDOC headquarters and Ellison's law office on, December 11, 1975. In addition, we have obtained copies of correspondence from Attorney Bob Riter indicating that he was appointed by the court to represent her during legal hearings in November 1975, not Bruce Ellison. Some friend and attorney. Go ahead and sue us Bruce. We'd love to get you in a court of law under oath for this discussion.
News From Indian County has since also reviewed the testimony of witnesses at the 2004 trial of Arlo Looking in which Ellison is referred to as a co-conspirator and which indicates that Ellison would not testify for the defense without being immunized against prosecution. Prosecuting US Attorney Robert Mandel indicates to the judge that the same situation has happened at Grand Jury where Ellison reportedly pleads the fifth amendment against self-incrimination. Mandel refuses to consider providing immunity to Ellison and the defense is unable to get Ellison to voluntarily appear.
Robert Robideau also makes the claim in published articles in 2004-5, that Ellison in 1994 tells him that he told members of AIM that they should "untie her," when they brought her to his Rapid City law office, and that he feared he would eventually be indicted in her murder case. Ellison denies that he told Robideau anything. But Robideau's description of the conversation is consistent with information provided to NFIC in which Ellison is accused of calling Annie Mae a "pig" waiving around evidence he considered to be incriminating to the accusation she was an informer, and asking AIM members "what they were going to do about it."
November 3, 1999:
Russell Means and Robert Pictou Branscombe conduct a news conference in which Means accused Vernon Bellecourt of giving orders to his brother Clyde to have Annie Mae executed. Clyde Bellecourt according to Russell Means is at the home of Bill Means December 11, or 12, 1975 on the Rosebud Reservation when the alleged phone call takes place. (See Annie Mae Aquash Special Issue: Denver Press Conference). Native American Calling preempts its regular programming to carry the information.
"This case will never be solved"
Vernon Bellecourt 1999
November 4, 1999:
Native American Calling dedicates a second program with Vernon Bellecourt and Ward Churchill as guests. (See Annie Mae Aquash Special Issue: Native America Calling, November 3, 1999 or Native America Calling, November 4, 1999). Bellecourt alleged that the case "will never be solved" and apologizes to the family of Pictou-Aquash if the Movement was responsible for any "pain or anguish" AIM may have caused the family. Denise Maloney, Annie Mae's daughter tells Paul DeMain of News From Indian Country to her knowledge, nobody from the American Indian Movement had ever come to visit her family regarding Annie Mae.
November 17, 1999:
4th Grand Jury: Russell Means after demanding that he be called before a grand jury testifies before a fourth Grand Jury, convened in Sioux Falls, South Dakota just for him, to hear information on the execution of Annie Mae. No charges are issued and Means is not called as a witness to the Looking Cloud trial in 2004.
June 16, 2000:
Richard Two Elk is interviewed by several members of the Native American Journalists Association and discusses what he has learned about the execution of Annie Mae.
November 8, 2000:
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Fifth Estate broadcasts Silenced: The Execution of Anna Mae.
Leonard Peltier in a 2001 interview with Serle Chapman for We The People says that he first heard that Annie Mae was dead during December, 1975.
Fifth Grand Jury: A federal grand jury hears new evidence in the Aquash murder case including wiretapped conversations and the appearance of several past and current members of the American Indian Movement.
March 21, 2003: Indictments issued against Arlo Looking Cloud and John Boy Patton Graham.
May 2003: In interviews with Aboriginal Television Network in Canada, John Graham say he takes Annie Mae from Denver, Colorado to the Pine Ridge Reservation while acting in the capicity of security for her, because "She was petrified about what an FBI agent said he would do to her." Graham says the agent is SA David Price and the other agent is Douglass Durham. Graham in a CBC interview refuses to divulge when asked, who else is with him in the car during the ride to Pine Ridge that could verify his story, saying "if they want to place themselves there, they can."
Febuary 3, 2004: Jury selection begins in the murder trial of Arlo Looking Cloud.
Febuary 6, 2004: Arlo Looking Cloud is tried and convicted by a mixed race jury, (including one African American and one American Indian) of being a Party to First Degree Pre-Meditated Murder.
December 6, 2007:
Graham's appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court is formally turned down. John Graham has exhausted his legal remedies and is extradited to the United States the same morning. For security reasons, Canada does not announce the decision to the public until Graham is at the U.S./Canadian border being handed over to U.S. Marshals.
December 7, 2007:
Graham is presented to a federal magistrate in Rapid City, South Dakota and pleads not guilty to 1st Degree.
December 11, 2007:
A federal judge sets Graham's trial date to February 12, 2008. The trial is later rescheduled to June 17, 2008.
January 2008: Pictou-Maloney Family launches effort to fund members of the family and the Micmac community Annie Mae came from so they can attend the trial of John Boy Patton-Graham.
February 2008: Graham defense attorney makes a motion to force the US Government to make available for DNA testing the panties and sanitary napkin of Annie Mae Aquash that is placed in inventory by W.O. Brown during his February 1976 examination.Graham's attorney John Murphy indicates that if DNA other than Grahams is present, the defense should be allowed to compare the samples to databases and determine if someone else had a role in Aquash's death.
February 2008: Arlo Looking Cloud files a motion to have his most recent South Dakota attorney discharged from his case.
March 2008: Grahams lawyer asked for another three months to prepare because the evidence includes 112 audio tapes and about 5,000 documents and he requests additional time to review the files.
August, 2008: A 6th Grand Jury reviews evidence and hears from witnesses/suspects in the Aquash case.
August 26, 2008: Vine Richard (Dick) Marshal is arraigned and charged with aiding and abetting 1st degree murder after a federal grand jury indicts him on August 20, 2008.
May, 2009: Murder charges against John Graham are dropped for a second time based on motions by his defense attorney that Graham is not an "American Indian" as defined by U.S. law. Dismissal of charges are appealed to District Federal Court.
Current date for the trial in Rapid City, South Dakota is on hold pending the final decision of federal appeal courts on jurisdiction over John Boy Patton Graham. The trial of Richard "Dick" Marshal is set for February 16, 2010 in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Check back for updates on this timeline thru the acquittal of Dick Marshall, guilty plea of Thelma Rios for setting off the Kidnapping of Annie Mae on behalf of Atty Bruce Ellison, Madonna Gilbert and Lorelie DeCora Means and the conviction of John Boy Patton Graham for kidnapping in the perpetuation of murder.