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Canadian accused of killing AIM activist may get out of
Associated Press (AP)
Monday, January 12, 2004
By Carson Walker
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - One of two men accused of killing an American Indian
Movement activist in South Dakota may be released from the Canadian jail in
which he's been held for six weeks.
John Graham was arrested in early December in Vancouver, British Columbia,
on a warrant from the United States that charges him with first-degree
He and Arlo Looking Cloud, who was picked up in March in Denver, are accused
of killing Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A
rancher found her frozen body in February 1976.
A March indictment accuses Graham and Looking Cloud in the fatal shooting of
Aquash, 30, around Dec. 12, 1975. They would serve mandatory life prison
terms if convicted. Looking Cloud is scheduled to stand trial starting Feb.
3 in federal court in Rapid City. Graham is fighting extradition.
His lawyer, Terry LaLiberte of Vancouver, said a judge will likely release
Graham from jail after a hearing scheduled for Thursday.
"The judge is going to grant bail. There's just a question of what the
conditions will be," he said late Monday.
The judge wanted a group of people to come up with $25,000 bail to post on
behalf of Graham and that has happened, LaLiberte said. That amounts to
about $19,500 in American dollars.
U.S. Attorney James McMahon of South Dakota said Monday he was aware of
Graham's attempt to get out of jail but did not know the status of the case.
"At some previous hearing, there was some comment made by the judge up there
that he would consider letting Graham go if conditions were met," he said.
Aquash's daughters also live in Canada and sent out a statement Monday
asking the Canadian government not to release Graham until his extradition
hearing, which has not been scheduled.
"We are the victim's family. We are not spearheading the investigation. We
do, however, support any efforts made to bring my mother's murder case to
trial so that we may, in a court of law, hear the truth and hopefully have
justice delivered," wrote Denise and Debbie Maloney Pictou.
"There has been little or no support from this country offered to our family
But LaLiberte said if Aquash's family members want justice they will stop
"They've got him convicted," he said. "I think there's a very, very skimpy
case against him, certainly in Canadian standards. It's all based on hearsay
and double hearsay and double innuendo. To my knowledge there's not one iota
of forensic evidence against him."
LaLiberte said Graham has been living in Vancouver and his whereabouts
before authorities arrested him were well known.
"Where's he going to run to? The United States?" he said.
Looking Cloud grew up on the Pine Ridge reservation. A former classmate said
Looking Cloud moved to Denver after high school. Most recently he was
In the 1970s, Graham and Looking Cloud did low-level security at AIM events,
said Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country, a newspaper.
© Copyright Associated Press (AP) 2004