[Ppnews] Jury Convicts John Graham: Land Defender Faces Life in Prison

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Dec 11 11:40:19 EST 2010



UPDATE: December 10, 2010

Jury Convicts John Graham: Land Defender Faces Life in Prison:

Friday afternoon, a South Dakota jury found John Graham guilty of murder
in the second degree. John Graham has been found guilty of felony murder
in the kidnapping of Anna Mae Aquash, his friend and comrade in the
American Indian Movement (AIM). Anna Mae Aquash was murdered in the
1970's, in an execution style killing in South Dakota.

The jury acquitted Graham of premeditated murder, the first-degree charge.
But even the lesser charge of second degree murder carries a sentence of
life in prison.

Earlier today, a jury foreman told the Judge that they could not come to a
unanimous verdict on one of the charges. Around an hour later, the jury
had reached it's verdicts.

In felony murder cases, the prosecution does not have to prove that the
accused actually killed anyone, instead the accused is found criminally
liable for any deaths that occur during or in furtherance of a felony. In
this case the felony is the kidnapping charge. For instance, if two people
are robbing a bank and one of them is killed, the getaway driver can then
be convicted of felony murder.

On Wednesday, John Murphy, lawyer for the defense, let the defense rest
without calling a single witness. According to the Associated Press,

"Murphy then asked Judge John Delaney to dismiss the charges, arguing that
prosecutors hadn't proven enough of their case beyond Looking Cloud's
statements.

Delaney disagreed and denied the motion. Murphy asked again for a
dismissal Wednesday after resting his case, but Delaney said he would not
change his ruling."

Anna Mae Aquash was an indigenous warrior who fought for the land and
people. She fought for the survival of native ways of life by teaching in
AIM Native American Survival Schools and taking part in numerous armed
land occupations.

According to this weeks' testimony of witness Candy Hamilton, Anna Mae
feared for her life due to threats from the FBI. Hamilton stated in court
that, "I don't know that (FBI Agent David Price) pulled the trigger, but I
think he could make it happen." Arlo Looking Cloud, convicted in 2004 on
murder charges related to the case, testified that he saw John Graham kill
Anna Mae Aquash. Murphy insinuated Looking Cloud gave false testimony in
order to receive reduced time in prison.

Anna Mae once said, "I am not a citizen of the United States or a ward of
the Federal Government, neither am I a ward of the Canadian government. I
have a right to continue my cycle in this Universe undisturbed." As Anna
Mae did not recognize the authority of the United States, or any colonial
government, the persecution of John Graham in her name is in contradiction
to her own ideas. Reliance on the courts reinforces the legitimacy of the
United States justice system, a system which legalizes the displacement
and destruction of indigenous people across this land.

Justice, for Anna Mae, could not take place within the courts, for, in her
own words, "Jails are not a solution to problems."

John Graham is currently being held in Pennington County Jail in Rapid
City. He is awaiting sentencing. After sentencing, it is expected he will
be transferred to a state penitentiary.

References:
-Associated Press
article:http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/defense-rests-quickly-in-reservation-slaying-trial-1.2526648

-Quotes from Anna Mae: ourfreedom.wordpress.com



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