1975 AIM slaying trial delayed again

By Carson Walker
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) 1-09

A federal judge once again delayed the trial of two men charged in the slaying of a fellow American Indian Movement member 33 years ago.

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

Marshall was indicted in August 2008, five years after Graham and Arlo Looking Cloud were charged.

Looking Cloud, a Lakota who was living in Denver, was convicted in 2004 for his role in Aquash’s murder and sentenced to life in prison. He is cooperating with the government in its case against Graham and Marshall.

dick_marshal08.jpgWitnesses at Looking Cloud’s trial said he, Graham and Theda Clarke drove Aquash from Denver in late 1975 and Graham shot Aquash, a fellow Canadian, as she begged for her life.

Prosecution witnesses accuse Marshall of providing the handgun and shells Graham used to killed Aquash on orders from AIM leaders who suspected she was a government informant.

Graham has denied killing Aquash but acknowledged being in the car from Denver.

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


Graham was scheduled to stand trial in October. But days before it was to start, the judge threw out the indictment because it didn’t show that either Graham or Aquash belonged to a federally recognized American Indian tribe. Tribal status gives the federal government jurisdiction in the case.

Graham is from the Tsimshian Tribe in the Yukon and fought his return to South Dakota in Vancouver, British Columbia, for more than four years. He was extradited in December 2007 after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to review his case.

Aquash, a member of Mi’kmaq Tribe of Nova Scotia, was killed by a gunshot wound to the head near Wanblee. The 30-year-old was among the Indian militants who occupied the village of Wounded Knee in a 71-day standoff with federal authorities in 1973 that included exchanges of gunfire with agents who surrounded the village.

Marshall’s attorney, Dana Hanna, filed a motion Jan. 12 asking the judge for at least another two months to prepare because of the large amount of evidence.

The trial likely will include testimony about AIM, Wounded Knee, the 1975 slaying of two FBI agents and other events, he wrote.

Graham’s lawyer, John Murphy, didn’t object to a delay, but U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley opposed it, saying Hanna has had enough time to review the evidence to prepare a defense.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol, in an order filed Thursday, sided with the defense and said the trial will be rescheduled.

Hanna has been diligent in preparing for the case; his request for more time is credible; a postponement will not seriously disadvantage the government; prosecutors have not contributed to the need for a delay, despite disputes over some evidence; and the case is complicated, Piersol wrote.

“The Court agrees with counsel for Marshall that this case presents complex legal and factual issues. The crime involves multiple defendants and allegedly occurred as part of a wide-ranging conspiracy arising out of the AIM movement of the 1970s,” he wrote.


2004 Testimony

The follow people testified in the 2004 trial of Arlo Looking Cloud. Their names are linked to their testimony in the case: Nate Merrick, James Glade, Don Dealing, John Munis, Dr. Gary Peterson, William Wood, Evan Hodge, Kimberly Edwards, Darlene Nichols, Mathalene White Bear, Bob Riter, Raymond Handboy, Joan Decker, Angie Janis, Troy Lynn Yellow Wood, Denise Pictou, Candy Hamilton, Jeanette Eagle Hawk, Cleo Gates, Richard Two Elk, John Trudell, Robert Ecoffey, part one, Robert Ecoffey, part two, and David Price.

And Previous Article Links: 

See Statement by Maloney/Pictou Family -
An Exorcism of Truth: The dismissal of John Graham's murder charges

See related article:
Murder charges dropped in Aquash case - Dillon and Gates testimony - Rios appointed attorney

See related article:
Prosecutors in 1975 AIM slaying argue to show evidence Canadian victim was raped

See related article:  U.S. indicts Richard Marshall in Aquash murder case

See related article: Feds: Aquash was bound and raped before 1975 execution

See narratives of historical NFIC investigation into Aquash murder case

See other historical articles on the Aquash case at jfamr.org

See related article: Prosecutors refuse details of cooperating Witnesses

See related 2001 Editorial: It's murderers who make headlines and devastate families