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Old 02-04-2004, 08:58 AM   #1
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Jury for Anna Mae Aquash murder has one Indian

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URL: http://www.indianz.com/News/archives/003591.asp


Jury for Anna Mae Aquash murder has one Indian
Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Opening arguments were held on Tuesday for a man accused of murdering American Indian movement activist Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash.

The jury was picked and it includes one Indian. At least one other Indian was excused because he said an Indian could not get a fair trial in the justice system.

Arlo Looking Cloud is one of two men indicted for the murder. Pictou-Aquash was found dead on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in February 1976.

U.S. Attorney Jim McMahon said he might call about 20 witnesses. According to the Associated Press, the list includes Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement director Bob Ecoffey, former American Indian Movement leader John Trudell and Troy Lynn Yellow Wood, one of the last persons to see Pictou-Aquash alive before she was taken away to South Dakota.

According to the AP, Russell Means and Vernon Bellecourt attended the trial yesterday.

Get the Story:
U.S. Attorney Jim McMahon listed about 20 possible witnesses (AP 2/3) Prosecutors Call Witnesses In AIM Trial (AP 2/4)
Murder trial casts shadow on jailed hero of Wounded Knee (The London Independent 2/4)

Relevant Links:
Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash Info - http://www.dickshovel.com/annalay.html

Related Stories:
Questions remain as Aquash murder trial starts (2/3)
Man accused of murdering Anna Mae goes on trial (2/2)
Man accused in Aquash murder fights U.S. extradition (1/29)
Aquash murder suspect released on bail in B.C. (01/16)
Aquash murder suspect seeking release from jail (01/13)
Second man arrested for Anna Mae Aquash murder (12/03)
Federal judge to hold hearing in Aquash murder case (10/09)
AIM asked to help man charged with Aquash murder (09/24)
Aquash family disappointed with trial delay (09/17)
Trial for man charged with Aquash murder delayed (9/12)
Man charged with Aquash murder seeks trial delay (9/10)
Evidence in Aquash murder case may be missing (08/22)
Trial for Anna Mae Aquash murder suspect delayed (06/09)
Peltier sues Indian newspaper editor for libel (05/06)
Anna Mae Aquash suspect to go to trial in June (04/24)
Aquash murder suspect transferred to S.D. (4/22)
Editorial: Anne Mae murder deserves to be solved (04/14)
Second AnnA Mae indictment was mistakenly unsealed (4/8)
Canadian police aware of Aquash developments (4/4)
Second man sought in murder of Anna Mae Aquash (4/3)
Arrest made in murder of Anna Mae Aquash (4/2)
Editorial: Aquash murder deserves attention (01/30)
Anna Mae Aquash murder investigated again (1/27)

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Old 02-04-2004, 09:55 AM   #2
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You'd think they would have 1-2 more peers there.
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Old 02-04-2004, 10:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kiwehnzii
You'd think they would have 1-2 more peers there.
A number of them are likely afraid to serve on that jury. I imagine there's probably some intimidation going. Both Russell Means and Vernon Bellecourt were in the courtroom, and I don't see either one of them being shy about stooping to such tactics.
Afterall, Aquash was killed likely because she knew too much. And I doubt it was the FBI or GOONs who did it. She was killed in a manner frighteningly close to that of the FBI Agents that Peltier's been convicted of killing.
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Old 02-04-2004, 11:22 AM   #4
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Arlo Looking Cloud Trial

I got this from the Rapid City Journal, very sad to see that factions of AIM stooped to this level. When I was young, I was idealistic and loved what it represented, but now I feel shamed.

Jury seated
By Heidi Bell Gease, Journal Staff Writer

RAPID CITY -- Everyone agrees that Arlo Looking Cloud was present on that day in 1975 when Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash was shot in the head while kneeling in prayer in the Badlands.

But that doesn't make him guilty of murder, his attorney said Tuesday as Looking Cloud's murder trial got under way at the Federal Courthouse.

"Arlo Looking Cloud didn't kill anybody," attorney Tim Rensch told jurors in opening statements Tuesday afternoon. "You will find this is a case of fate."

Looking Cloud "was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Rensch said.

Prosecutors told a different story. Held against her will in the hours before her death, Pictou-Aquash pleaded with Looking Cloud to let her go, U.S. Attorney Jim McMahon said.

"Mr. Looking Cloud was there every step of the way," he said. "And when we're done with the evidence, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to ask you to find him guilty."

Jury selection began Tuesday morning. Rensch asked potential jurors to consider a hypothetical situation where two friends enter a convenience store and one steals a six-pack of beer. If the second man didn't know the first man was going to steal the beer, Rensch asked, is it fair to consider him a thief?

Rensch went through various versions of the same scenario, making the point that simply because a person witnesses a crime doesn't mean he is guilty of one. A co-defendant in the case, John Graham, also is charged with Pictou-Aquash's murder and is free on bond in Canada.

On Tuesday, a packed courtroom waited to hear opening statements before U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol of Sioux Falls, starting about 3:15 p.m.

With a photo of Pictou-Aquash displayed on an overhead video screen, McMahon began with a detailed account of Pictou-Aquash's final months. Pictou-Aquash, a Mi'kmaq Indian from Canada, first came to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to support an American Indian Movement occupation at Wounded Knee. She remained involved in AIM activities, but rumors began circulating that Pictou-Aquash was a government informant.

At an AIM national conference in June 1975, Pictou-Aquash was confronted and threatened about being an informant but denied it, McMahon said.

In the following months, McMahon said, Pictou-Aquash told several people she was afraid for her life and feared some factions of AIM. AIM members began keeping watch on her, eventually taking her to a "safe house" in Denver in late November 1975.

After a meeting was held at the house, Pictou-Aquash was tied up and put in a car to be driven to Rapid City by Looking Cloud, John Graham and Theda Clark, McMahon said. He said Pictou-Aquash told Troy Lynn Yellow Wood, who lived in the house, "If I go back to South Dakota, you will never see me alive again."

After more meetings in South Dakota, Pictou-Aquash was eventually taken to a spot near Wanblee, where she was led to the edge of a cliff and shot in the head, McMahon said.

In February 1976, rancher Roger Amiotte found her frozen and decomposing body. An autopsy was done. "In a nutshell, that autopsy was botched," McMahon admitted. "Dr. Brown found the cause of death was exposure."

Pictou-Aquash's body was later exhumed, and a second autopsy was done. That time, Dr. Gary Peterson ordered an X-ray, which showed a bullet still lodged in the skull.

There was little cooperation in solving the case at the time, McMahon told jurors. But eventually, people started talking, including Looking Cloud. "We're going to bring those statements (he made) to you," McMahon said.

Rensch said evidence would show that Looking Cloud was not as closely connected with AIM as some have said. In 1975, Looking Cloud was in his early 20s, living in Denver with his girlfriend and their son and selling artwork. The weekend before Pictou-Aquash was killed, his girlfriend and their son left town to visit relatives, Rensch said, and Looking Cloud went out drinking with a friend.

The next day, Looking Cloud woke up and went looking for his friend. "Little did he know that his path was going to change," Rensch said. "His intent was simply to find his friend and go downtown drinking again."

Instead, at Yellow Wood's house, Looking Cloud found Theda Clark, an older woman who told him he needed to drive them to Rapid City. Looking Cloud didn't want to, Rensch said, but Clark was pushy, and he agreed.

Looking Cloud then met John Graham, who tied Pictou-Aquash's hands. Looking Cloud didn't know what was going on, Rensch said, "but he knows enough not to ask questions."

Rensch said Looking Cloud believed they were just going to Rapid City. He also said his client's memory has been affected by years of alcohol abuse but that Looking Cloud doesn't remember any talk of killing anyone or any pleading from Pictou-Aquash.

In fact, Rensch said, Looking Cloud didn't know what was going to happen until he heard Graham shoot Pictou- Aquash. At that point, Looking Cloud feared he might be the next one shot, so he helped Graham bury the gun.

Back in Denver, Rensch said, "Arlo Looking Cloud falls off the face of the Earth as it relates to the American Indian Movement."

Looking Cloud later cooperated with federal authorities, returning to the crime scene to recount what had happened there.

Prosecutors called three witnesses Tuesday, including rancher Roger Amiotte and former Bureau of Indian Affairs criminal investigator Nathan Merritt.

Merritt explained a decision to cut off Pictou-Aquash's hands after the initial autopsy. The body hadn't been identified, he said, and the hands were too far decomposed to get fingerprints from them outside a lab setting. Investigators gave the severed hands to FBI agents, he said, and further analysis identified them as belonging to Pictou-Aquash.

Merritt also testified that during the initial autopsy done at the Indian Health Service hospital in Pine Ridge, no X-rays were taken of the body. "I was told the machine was broke," he said.

Testimony resumes at 9 a.m. today. The trial is expected to continue into next week.
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Old 02-04-2004, 12:11 PM   #5
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if i'm not mistaken...the gov't wuz involved also...why would they botch up the autopsy??...it took her family to demand her body be exhumed from the cemetary under "jane doe"...to get her correctly identified...how come the 2nd autopsy found the bullet??...how come she wuz id'd the 2nd go around??...i heard that the gov't wuz tryin to persaude her to be an informant...n wuz more or less misleadin..implyin she might be...i dunno...sounds to me the feds got to her before aim...
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Old 02-05-2004, 06:12 AM   #6
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Its been what? 19 years since the murder happened, and really all the evidence that they have are peoples accounts of that day. Alot of things can be forgotten in a good 20 years, and different things added. And I would have to agree 1snag I think the feds got ahold of her befor aim. I guess we'll see what the jury thinks with an "unbiased veiw" of course.
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