Feds want other acts in 1975 AIM slaying trial provided to jury

By Carson Walker
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) 11-08

Federal prosecutors handling the 1975 slaying of a woman want to include testimony at trial alleging one of the defendants raped her, and statements made by several other people involved, according to court documents.

John Graham and Richard Marshall have pleaded not guilty to charges they committed or aided and abetted the first-degree murder of Annie Mae Aquash on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

They are scheduled to stand trial in Rapid City starting Feb. 24, 33 years after her body was found in the Badlands near Wanblee.

Marshall was indicted in August, five years after Graham and Arlo Looking Cloud were initially charged.

Looking Cloud was convicted in 2004 for his role in Aquash’s murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Witnesses at his trial said he, Graham and Theda Clarke drove Aquash from Denver in late 1975 and that Graham shot Aquash in the Badlands as she begged for her life.

Clarke, who lives in a nursing home in western Nebraska, has not been charged.

Prosecutors accuse Marshall of providing the handgun and shells that killed Aquash.

Graham has denied killing Aquash but acknowledged being in the car with her from Denver, Colorado to Wambli Pine Ridge Reservation

All those involved were American Indian Movement members.

Federal prosecutors Marty Jackley and Bob Mandel filed a memorandum indicating they want to introduce statements made by Looking Cloud and Clarke, including:

– A conversation between a cooperating witness, Looking Cloud and Troy Lynn Yellow Wood, from whose Denver house Aquash was abducted.

– A conversation between the same witness and Clarke regarding the possibility Aquash was a government informant in which Clarke said: “Yeah, that’s why we did it and it wasn’t ever going to happen again.”

– A phone conversation between Looking Cloud and Denise Maloney, one of Aquash’s daughters.

Jackley and Mandel also filed notice that they want jurors to see evidence Graham sexually assaulted Aquash, bound her hands and kept her in the hatch of Clarke’s red Ford Pinto before shooting her.

Graham can’t be charged with sexual assault because the statute of limitations has expired. But the prosecutors said the evidence supports the murder charge.

Aquash was kept in the Pinto’s hatch against her will on the drive to Rapid City and then to the Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations, the prosecutors wrote.

While guarding Aquash in an empty apartment in Rapid City, Graham sexually assaulted her, according to the document.

Aquash was also held against her will during a stop at Marshall’s house during which he gave Graham and the others the murder weapon, the prosecutors wrote.

According to their document, the sexual assault allegation is supported by evidence that includes:

– Frank Dillon, who told a detective in 1998 that Graham acknowledged raping Aquash before he shot her in the head with a pistol as she prayed.

– Other witness statements.

– The autopsy that found evidence consistent with Aquash being raped shortly before her death.

Jackley and Mandel argued that federal rules would allow the introduction of the evidence because it is connected to the case, explains the circumstances of the crime and proves elements of the crime.