AIM slaying prosecutors turn over evidence details

By Carson Walker
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) 9-08

Federal prosecutors wrote in a response filed with the court that they’ve complied with a judge’s order to turn over more information on government witnesses in the case against John Graham.

He’s scheduled to stand trial starting Oct. 6 in Rapid City on a charge he killed fellow Canadian citizen and American Indian Movement member Annie Mae Aquash in December 1975 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwest South Dakota.

Two other AIM members have been charged. Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to a mandatory life prison term for his role. Dick Marshall was indicted last month on charges he aided and abetted the killing.


Witnesses at Looking Cloud’s trial said he, Graham and another AIM member, Theda Clark, drove Aquash from Denver and that Graham shot Aquash in the Badlands as she begged for her life.

According to a notice of compliance, federal prosecutors Marty Jackley and Bob Mandel wrote that they have done what was asked of them by federal Magistrate Veronica Duffy in an order stemming from a motion filed by Graham’s lawyer, John Murphy.

Duffy gave lawyers on both sides until Sept. 8 to show her more details of an unnamed informant who reported seeing Aquash alive days before her body was found. The prosecutors did not expound in their filing.

Regarding another matter, the magistrate said that if the government has the envelope from a letter written by the wife of Serle Chapman, a federal witness, that prosecutors were to turn it over. Jackley and Mandel wrote the government does not have it.

Finally, the prosecutors responded to a request from Graham for details of “expense reimbursements” to Chapman and Darlene “Kamook” Nichols.

The government has provided the defense with amounts and dates of the payments, as well as receipts received by the cooperating witnesses, Jackley and Mandel wrote. More details are kept by the FBI in Minneapolis but are legally outside the court order, they wrote.

The prosecutors earlier indicated that Chapman and Nichols were not paid informants but cooperating witnesses who were reimbursed for having to relocate because of “harassment, retribution and retaliation” stemming from their cooperation.

A rancher found Aquash’s body north of Wanblee. Prosecutors have said they believe she was killed there around Dec. 12, 1975.