John Graham and the Murder of Anna Mae Aquash
The US is attempting to extradite John Graham, a Tuchone from the Yukon, for 1st degree murder of Anna Mae Aquash. Anna Maes' body was found in Wanbli South Dakota in February 1976. She had been shot in the back of the head, execution style. Initially the FBI attempted to cover-up her identity and cause of death.
The evidence for 2 indictments given out last May 2003, was based on a video taped confession Arlo Looking Cloud gave where first he stated he was intoxicated, and he eventually slurred a story that was fed to him by investigators.
In April 2003, John Graham was indicted along with Arlo Looking Cloud, a Lakota from Wounded Knee South Dakota for Anna Maes' murder. Arlo was found guilty for aiding and abbetting in her murder, and he was sentenced in April 2004. Arlo was not allowed to choose his own lawer, or to take the stand to defend himself at his own trial.
court 10am, Tuesday, Wednesday
800 Howe St.
BC Supreme Court
Three days of court hearings in preparation of John Grahams' upcoming extradition hearing began today at the BC Supreme Court. The purpose of this is for prosecution and defense to make arrangements for evidence and witnesses that will be presented at Johns' extradition hearing that is scheduelled to begin December 6.
Johns' defense has concerns regarding evidence that was presented when the US filed for the extradition last February. This evidence is not necessarily going to be presented at the actual extradition hearing. This includes evidence that was gathered by US and Canadian law enforcement agents investigating in Canada. It would be an opportunity for Johns legal defense to question investigators, for example, Robert Ecoffey whose career in law enforcement began when he was a BIA cop (Bureau of Indian Affairs) in Pine Ridge in the early 70's. John Graham has made public statements that Ecoffey went to the Yukon twice, and offered him immunity if he signed an affidavit to implicate any well known former AIM member in ordering Anna Maes' execution. When it became clear that John would not cooperate, Ecoffey promised him that the blame would be pinned on John, and that his life would be ruined.
Other evidence that Johns' defense lawyers want presented at the extradition hearing is interviews that John gave a Rapid City reporter now referred to as C.W (Cooperating Witness). The interview was in regards to how John was publicaly named as a suspect in Anna Maes' murder. After the interview this reporter turned the recording in to US law enforcements. Transcripts include spelling typos of "Execution" rather than "Extradition" (referring to Leonard Peltiers' extradition from Vancouver Canada). Important information could become public record if "CW" were to take the stand at Johns' extradition hearing, such as, if he recieved any monies for the interview, and if so, how much.
Short Bio on Robert Ecoffey
Robert Ecoffey was actively involved with the FBI and goons who conducted a violent counterinsurgency operation in Pine Ridge against natives who were resisting unwanted uranium development on sacred lands during the time that Anna Mae Aquashs' body was found. Anna Mae Aquash was one of many leaders in the American Indian Movement, the most well-known group that made up the presence of resistance in Pine Ridge at that time. After a botched attempt by the FBI to cover up the Anna Maes' identity and cause of death, the investigation into her murder was dropped. During that time the FBI looked suspicious, especially when law enforcement and also hired paramilitary were often witnessed to have committed many of the 76 murders in that time period that became known as the "Reign of Terror".
After Ecoffey became the first native US Marshal in the early 90's, he immedietely sought to revive the investigation into Anna Maes' murder, focusing on AIM members as suspects. Robert Ecoffey has been involved in 2 prominant scandals. Up until earlier this year, he was the BIA Deputy Director of Law. He was responsible for all the native jails nationwide. Jails on tribal lands have been operating well beyond their capacity for the past several years. According to the Justice Department, one jail in six held twice its recommended maximum of prisoners as of mid-2002. In all, 2,080 people were being held in 70 Indian jails, detention centers and other correctional facilities. This has taken place, despite increased BIA budgets for such operations, which had been increased from $25.6 million to $58 million. During the investigation by the Interior inspector general in the worsening conditions in the native prisons that was brought on by several recent inmate deaths, Ecoffey asked to step down and transfer. Robert Ecoffey was reassigned to Aberdeen on May 27, 2004.
Also in September 2004, Robert Ecoffey married Kamook Banks, former AIM member, and admitted informant. She testified in Arlo Looking Clouds' trial, implicating other AIM members, and admitted to taking $42,000 from the FBI over the years for helping them build their case.
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