Federal Appeals Court rules against government prosecutors in Aquash slaying case

Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) 11-09

A federal appeals court says it won’t review failed appeals by government prosecutors who want to try a Canadian man for a 1975 slaying on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

John Graham of the Yukon territory in Canada is one of two men charged in federal court in the killing of Annie Mae Aquash. Prosecutors say American Indian Movement leaders suspected that Aquash was a government informant and ordered her to be killed.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier upheld a lower court ruling that the government lacked jurisdiction on one of three counts against Graham, because he claims he is not an American Indian as defined by US law. The 8th Circuit ruled during November it would not grant a rehearing before the full appeals court.

Graham and Richard "Dick" Marshall of Rapid City are charged in federal court with murder and aiding and abetting in the death of Aquash. Graham and Thelma Rios of Rapid City also face state charges of taking part in the kidnapping and killing of Aquash.

A trial date for Rios has been set for March 2010.

Historical Aquash Murder Case Files