1975 AIM slaying defense can see report of 3rd man

By Carson Walker
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) 12-08

Two men charged with killing a woman in 1975 on the Pine Ridge Reservation will be allowed to view parts of the presentence report of the third defendant, a federal magistrate ruled.

John Graham and Richard Marshall are scheduled to stand trial starting Feb. 24 in Rapid City on charges they committed or aided and abetted the first-degree murder of Annie Mae Aquash.

Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted in 2004 for his role and sentenced to life in prison.

They were all members of the American Indian Movement.

Defense lawyers for Graham and Marshall argued that Looking Cloud has a history of and treatment for mental disorders and alcohol and drug abuse, as well as a criminal past.

Attorneys John Murphy and Dana Hanna argued that such a background could affect Looking Cloud’s ability to recall details, so they should be allowed to see his presentence investigation report to determine if any information in it challenges his credibility since he’s expected to testify against their clients.

U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Mandel wrote in their response that the government isn’t opposed to allowing the defense lawyers to view the document in the presence of the judge but were opposed to turning it over to them.

The report is confidential and contains nothing that must be provided to the defense under the rules of evidence, they wrote.

But, U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica Duffy ruled that Graham and Marshall are entitled to the parts of Looking Cloud’s report that could challenge his credibility.

She ordered prosecutors to provide to the defense lawyers the relevant sections, including those that describe his criminal, mental health and substance abuse history, and any other facts that affect his ability to recall events.

However, the attorneys are not to share the contents of the report with anyone else, make copies of it, use it for cross-examination of any witness other than Looking Cloud, and return everything after he testifies.

“Mr. Looking Cloud may very well be a pivotal witness in the government’s case. The court concludes that Looking Cloud’s reliability as a witness may indeed be determinative of the guilt or innocence of Mr. Graham and Mr. Marshall,” Duffy wrote.

Graham is a Canadian citizen from the Yukon. Aquash was a Canadian citizen from Nova Scotia.