Prosecutors: Marshall supplied 1975 SD murder gun

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By Carson Walker
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) 10-08


For the first time, federal prosecutors handling a 1975 slaying on the Pine Ridge Reservation have directly accused one of the defendants of supplying the gun that was used to kill Annie Mae Aquash.

Richard Marshall and John Graham pleaded not guilty Oct. 10 in Rapid City to a new indictment charging them with committing or aiding and abetting the first-degree murder of Aquash when all three were active with the American Indian Movement.

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

Marshall was at his house in Allen when he gave Graham, Looking Cloud and Clarke the revolver and shells used to kill Aquash, they wrote. The prosecutors also wrote that the meeting included an exchange of the “baggage note” – correspondence supposedly to Marshall from other AIM members that referred to Aquash.

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

Witnesses at his trial said he, Graham and another AIM member, 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.

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

Some speculated AIM members killed Aquash because she knew some of them were government spies, while others said she was executed because she herself was suspected of being an informant. Federal authorities have said Aquash was not an informant and they had nothing to do with her death.

In a new filing, U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Mandel gave each man 10 days to provide notice of an alibi defense, including where they were and who they were with when Aquash was believed to be killed on Dec. 12, 1975.

Jackley and Mandel repeat the allegation in the alibi notice for Graham and include a section accusing him of shooting Aquash, which they have previously alleged and to which witnesses at Looking Cloud’s trial testified.

The pathologist who did a second autopsy on Aquash’s body concluded she died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

Graham was to stand trial lOctober 6 but a judge threw out the original indictment because it didn’t show that grand jurors considered whether either he or Aquash belonged to a federally recognized American Indian tribe, which the law requires.

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

Aquash, a member of Mi’kmaq Tribe of Nova Scotia, was buried at an Oglala cemetery but her family exhumed the body in 2004 and reburied it in Canada.

Marshall, a Lakota from South Dakota, was indicted in August and was scheduled to be tried separately but his case has since been joined with Graham’s. The judge set a trial date for both Graham and Marshall for February 24, 2009.

Aquash, 30, was among the Indians 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.

 



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