[Ppnews] John Graham convicted in death of Anna Mae Aquash

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Dec 11 11:33:49 EST 2010


Guilty verdict in N.S. native activist's death

Last Updated: Friday, December 10, 2010 | 7:23 PM 

<http://www.cbc.ca/news/credit.html>CBC News

A South Dakota jury has found John Graham guilty 
of felony murder in the 1975 slaying of a native 
woman originally from Nova Scotia.

Graham, 55, was acquitted of a second, more 
serious charge of premeditated murder in the 
slaying of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, a Mi'kmaq from 
Indian Brook, N.S., and an activist with the American Indian Movement (AIM).

Felony murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

The two charges roughly parallel what are known 
as second- and first-degree murder charges in Canada.

Graham looked straight ahead and didn't move as 
the verdicts were read. His daughter, Naneek, 
began to cry as the jury members stood one by one to affirm the verdicts.

"We waited 35 years," said Denise Maloney Pictou, 
one of Pictou-Aquash's daughters, "It's been a long road for us."

Violent struggles

Graham, originally from Yukon, was accused of 
shooting Pictou-Aquash, 30, and leaving her to 
die on the Pine Ridge reservation in South 
Dakota. The killing occurred amid the violent 
struggles between AIM and agents with the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation of the 1970s.

Prosecutors in the 7th Circuit Court in Rapid 
City, S.D., argued that Graham and two other AIM 
members kidnapped and killed Pictou-Aquash 
because they thought she was a government spy.

The charges against Graham were laid after Arlo 
Looking Cloud, another AIM member who was 
convicted in Pictou-Aquash's murder six years 
ago, alleged Graham was the one who shot her.

The jury in the case deliberated for 12 hours 
from Thursday to Friday before initially 
delivering a verdict on the felony murder charge 
but remaining deadlocked on the other charge. 
They eventually returned a verdict on the premeditated murder charge as well.

'We need to be together'

A Southern Tutchone originally from the Champagne 
and Asihihik First Nation in Yukon, Graham was 
extradited from Vancouver to the U.S. in 2007 to 
stand trial in Pictou-Aquash's death.

Graham's children, who live in Yukon, are in 
Rapid City this week to provide support to their father.

Viola Papequash, Graham's former partner and the 
mother of their children, said she is bringing 
family members together in Yukon so they can be prepared for the verdict.

"We need to be together to just support one 
another for whatever happens," Papequash told CBC 
News on Thursday from her home in Whitehorse.

Both Pictou-Aquash and Graham were active in AIM, 
which was established in the late 1960s to 
protest the U.S. government's treatment of 
American Indians and demand the government honour 
its treaties with Indian tribes.

Pictou-Aquash's death came about six months after 
two FBI agents were killed during a shootout with 
AIM members at Pine Ridge, and two years after 
she participated in AIM's 71-day occupation of 
the South Dakota reservation town of Wounded Knee.

Papequash said the long legal saga leading up to 
Graham's trial has had its toll on their family.

"For John and I, as a family, it started in '89 
when the FBI first came up ­ a long time, a long haul for all of us," she said.

With files from The Associated Press
Read more: 

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20101211/404a4adb/attachment.html>

More information about the PPnews mailing list