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Old 05-07-2004, 10:37 AM   #1
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Looking Cloud sentenced to life

Looking Cloud sentenced to life

Posted: May 07, 2004 - 9:46am EST
by: David Melmer / Indian Country Today

RAPID CITY, S.D. - Arlo Looking Cloud, convicted in the 1976 death of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, was sentenced to life in prison on April 23 in U.S. District Court.

He was found guilty by a 12-person jury on Feb. 6 of aiding and abetting in the murder of the Mi’kMaq AIM activist from Canada who spent time in South Dakota during the infamous reign of terror period in the mid 1970s.

Life in prison with the possibility of parole is a mandatory sentence under federal guidelines.

"I feel this to be a good day. My daughters can start the healing process," said James Maloney, father of Debbie Maloney Pictou and Denise Maloney Pictou.

Maloney, a Mi’kMaq from Nova Scotia, said his daughters went through a lot of pain and loss when they were children.

"I want you to start your sentence of pain and to start your healing," Maloney said to Looking Cloud.

"I hope this sends a message to all involved in the murder, that you will pay, justice is coming. Anna Mae suffered a most inhumane death.

"Arlo you didn’t give Anna Mae justice, you will pay for what you have done."

Maloney also put an offer on the table that if Looking Cloud wished to speak with Pictou-Aquash’s daughters, Maloney said he would make sure they listened.

Gilbert said Looking Cloud did want to make a statement at the hearing, but he advised him not to because an appeal will be filed. He also wished the best for the Looking Cloud family.

Emotions peaked when Debra Maloney Pictou, Anna Mae’s daughter, spoke for the family.

As Maloney Pictou read from a prepared address to the court, she said she did not write the words in anger. "When we were 10 and 11 you took our mother away from us. We felt the pain of losing our mother. When I was told of her death I cried for many years.

"I cried every day. I whispered to my mother - I want you, I need you.

"Arlo, you are responsible for the pain."

Maloney Pictou is a police officer in Canada, she is from Halifax. She said she deals with victims’ pain every day.

"I can imagine her being raped and pleading for her life. I can imagine what she must have thought before being shot. I need to know, did she die right away or did she suffer? You are the reason. I can’t even tell you my mother’s favorite color."

Maloney Pictou held a prayer bundle and in her hair she wore a feather. She said the feather was all she had of what her mother gave her.

Maloney Pictou told Looking Cloud that her mother’s spirit was with the family and also would be with Looking Cloud and his family while he is in prison.

She said she wanted to look people who were responsible for her mother’s death in the eyes. "I believe you knew before you took her, you know who gave the orders, you talked to her. You have a conscience and a sense of guilt.

"You need to accept responsibility," Maloney Pictou said to Looking Cloud.

Two people spoke on behalf of the Looking Cloud family. Joe American Horse, Oglala, recounted how twice the Oglala held ceremonies for Pictou-Aquash.

Before the sentence proceedings began, newly-appointed attorney for Looking Cloud, Terry Gilbert of Cleveland, Ohio, requested Judge Lawrence Piersol order a DNA test performed on the body of Pictou-Aquash.

The family had her body exhumed on April 22, to be transferred to Canada for burial next to other family members. Gilbert, of Cleveland, said that in the 24 hours prior to the sentence hearing, the family of Pictou-Aquash had her body exhumed to be transported to Canada for reburial.

He asked the government and family to join in the DNA request. The family supported the exam, but the government said nothing would be proven by the test. Robert Mandel, assistant U.S. Attorney said his office contacted the federal DNA lab and was informed that because of the time the body was interred and also exposed to the elements for three months in the winter, very little information could be gathered.

"In the autopsies there was a reference to sexual activity and today there are new methods of testing," Gilbert said.

He said the DNA examination could shed light on the case and possibly show that someone other than those already mentioned may have been involved with the murder.

"Given the dearth of forensic evidence at least explore this further and be assured that everything has been done. We need a chance to look into this issue."

Mandell said that nothing new would be proven. Looking Cloud was convicted of a crime. "Whether there was rape or sexual intercourse … from his mouth she was abducted in Denver, brought to the Badlands and was murdered. There is nothing to add. There is a question about finding any DNA. In the first autopsy there was no indication of sexual activity."

Gilbert also questioned whether the sentencing should proceed. He laid out a scenario of Looking Cloud’s life of drugs and alcohol since childhood. He said Looking Cloud had a mental condition and that no evaluation had been conducted. A psychologist was hired to assess Looking Cloud’s mental condition, but Gilbert said Looking Cloud felt paranoid and would not speak with him.

Mandel said a video of an interrogation of Looking Cloud, shown during the trial, showed no signs of mental dysfunction. "There was no evidence that he wasn’t competent to stand trial."

Judge Piersol agreed.

An appeal is imminent. Gilbert said Looking Cloud’s trial was a smear campaign against AIM. At that time, in the 1970s, Gilbert said, we were dealing with violent people, not activists. And today with terrorism and a war and with that in people’s minds it was a good time for the government to have the trial.

Gilbert implied that Looking Cloud was in a mental state that allowed other people to tell him the story that he eventually told to others without him knowing the truth.

"There are a lot of false confessions. Unstable people have confessed on tape and later found innocent - this is not rare," Gilbert said.
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This article can be found at http://www.indiancountry.com/?1083937747
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