Prosecutors refuse details of cooperating Witnesses in Aquash murder case

By Carson Walker
Rapid City, South Dakota (AP/NFIC)

During late August prosecutors responded to a motion from Graham's lawyer to compel the government to turn over more evidence regarding two witnesses.

Jackley and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Mandel wrote that two people involved in the investigation were not paid informants but cooperating witnesses who were reimbursed for expenses.

Graham's lawyer John Murphy, in his motion, asked for details of ``expense reimbursements'' of $69,066 to Serle Chapman and $49,083 to Darlene ``Kamook'' Nichols. She testified at Looking Cloud's trial in 2004.

The prosecutors said they didn't include the names to protect their safety.

Annie Mae (Left) and KaMook Nichols Banks chained to each other in Nov. 1975.

Nichols, now a co-owner of a Subway franchise on the Pine Ridge Reservation was forced to move twice because of security concerns. She was arrested along with Aquash in November 1975 following the "Marlon Brando Moter Home Bust" in Vale, Oregon. Both Dennis Banks, and Leonard Peltier fled the scene.

Chapman, is a world renowned photographer and author, who once brought the clemency plea of Leonard Peltier to the attention of the British Parliament during the 1990's.

``These individuals were not paid informants and no payments were made to them to work for the United States. The cooperation provided by them was not contingent upon receiving payment from the United States,'' Jackley and Mandel wrote.

``The only monies paid to them were reimbursements of travel expenses they incurred in seeking information in this case and payment toward expenses that they incurred when relocating due to harassment, retribution and retaliation based upon the assistance they had provided.''

The government is not obligated to turn over anything further, the prosecutors wrote.

Murphy also asked for an unredacted copy of a Feb. 18, 1976, report by FBI Special Agent David Price that states an unnamed informant saw Aquash alive Feb. 12, 1976, in Allen and described what she was wearing and driving.

A rancher found her unidentified body Feb. 24, 1976, north of Wanblee. Prosecutors have said they believe she was killed there two months earlier - around Dec. 12, 1975.

In their response, Jackley and Mandel wrote that an unredacted version would only reveal the informant's source number, and that the government is entitled to protect the identity of such informants.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol, who will oversee Graham's trial, issued an order that federal Magistrate Veronica Duffy will rule on Graham's motion to compel.

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