Federal murder charges against Graham dismissed, State Court holds hearing

News From Indian Country

Federal prosecutors have dismissed murder charges against former American Indian Movement activist John Graham in the 1975 death of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash.

Graham, who was extradited to the United States in June of 2006, had faced a Feb. 16 trial in federal court along with Richard "Dickie" Marshall. However, continuing issues with whether Graham was, or is an American Indian forced federal officials to drop the case. Marshall was accused of providing the gun and shells that was used to kill Aquash and his trial is expected to begin as scheduled.

The Feb. 3rd, actions clear the way for prosecutor's to move forward with state charges based on the same events in December 1975 when Graham is accused of shooting Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash in the back of the head in an execution allegedly ordered by leadership members of the American Indian Movement.

Graham was be turned over to South Dakota state custody on Feb. 4th with his initial state court appearance tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. CST at the Pennington County Court House. It is possible that his trial and that of AIM accomplice Thelma Rios, also charged with aiding and abetting in the Aquash murder may now be combined.

In State Court, Graham was originally charged with the additional crime of raping of Aquash.


See narratives of historical NFIC investigation into Aquash murder case

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