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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.

billie pierre

there are some errors in this....best to read John Graham's own words 04.Dec.2004 21:05

antoinette claypoole antoinettenora@yahoo.com

This is a good intentioned article, however there are many facts which are not correct. And it is VERY important to get facts sraight when talking about murder and the U.S. gov't. Further, for people who want to know all the facts, just read John Graham's own words. In an interview I did with him AFTEr the Looing Cloud trial. Which I covered for KPFK Pacifica RAdio, Los Angeles. Her is a link to that interview:  http://www.blogcafe.com/flickeroad/index.php.

And here are just a few corrections to the article above:

1. The indictments given to Looking Cloud and John Graham were handed down in March 2003, not May 2003

2. Arlo Looking cloud DID choose his lawyer; later on he requested a new one, but thr judge refused that request

3. Looking Cloud never WANTED to take the stand at his trial; according to his family

3. Robert Ecoffey was the first U.S. Attorney to call a grand jury for the murder of Annie Mae; he had sincere intentions at that time

There are other things that are incorrect as well, I just feel you all should read from John Graham himself about some of this. and email me, antoinette claypoole, if you want information about the Arlo Looking Cloud trial. I was there and have plenty of pieces written while in the courtroom.

here is another link for the interview.... http://ca.prweb.com/releases/2004/12/prweb184924.htm
peace and thanks for this effort billie pierre...
antoinette claypoole

ongoing blog re: John Graham extradtion hearings 09.Dec.2004 18:16



here is a daily account of the John Graham hearings
happening in Vancouver, B.C.
included are statements from Leonard Peltier
and the Graham Defense Commmittee
along with daily entries regarding the hearings

the most important thing in all of this
is to inform ourselves from as many sources as we know.

Good Article 02.May.2005 04:57

Monica Charles

Well written. Arlo did ask to testify at his trial. He was assigned his first lawyer. His new lawyer has asked for a retrial or for him to be released because most of the testimony was about AIM not Arlo. Most testimony was hearsay. His taped "confession" was done while he was not sober. He was asked leading questions. He was not read his rights. No evidence was presented against Arlo. He was convicted but not proven guilty. Thank you for this article. It is very important that we get out information. It is very important that Natives tell our own stories.

Monica J Charles
Elwha Klallam

Antoinette Doesn't Have all Her Facts Straight 20.Sep.2005 22:39

Janis Schmidt

Billie Pierre wrote an excellent artilce, and fairly portrayed the railroad job done on Arlo.

Just because you were at the trial, Ms. Claypole, does not make you an authority. Allow me to correct you on a couple of points.

1. OK, so march.

2. Arlo never had a choice of lawyers. He fired his court appointed Rensch twice, but the Court refused to allow him to do that, even though he has 3 excellent credentialed lawyers offering to take his case.

3. Depends on who you define as family. If you mean his "adopted" "brother" Didier Dupont, the Frenchman who assigned himself complete control over Arlo, and drove off his real blood relatives, then yes. After Arlo was safely tucked away in prison in Florence, Didier dumped him, changed his phone number and refused to talk to Arlo. Why wouldn't Arlo want to speak for himself? He had nothing to hide, plus he would have blown holes in all the witness statements.

4. Bob Ecoffey had good intentions from the beginning??? Like plying Arlo with drinks. Then taping a confession. Oh sure.


read anna mae's words 26.Nov.2005 00:46


it is important that the correct dates/places/ events are presented.
so people can form their own opinions on things.

the trial was, yes, in march. not may.
according to Arlo Looking Cloud's family, at the time, Arlo did not want to take the stand.
yes. he had been drinking during the video tape that help convict him. that was clear to anyone in the courtroom.
Robert Ecoffey did open an investigation into the murder of Annie Mae. His reasons, at the time, appeared to be sincere. All we can go on is what we see. The facts are here. But you know what, maybe reading the words of Anna Mae, written from her jail cell, 30 years ago this month, will help people who are still, sincerely, trying to grasp why and how she was murdered. (see www.anniemaeletter.blogspot.com).

Letter Written in November 1975

(Please Note: This letter came to me about 4 years ago. I have kept it within a manila envelope, wondering when/how to share it with others. As this weekend presses against many maybe Annie Mae's own words can put things into a necessary perspective. I assume it is a legitimate letter, as the source was reliable, and the copy from which I typed here, was of the handwritten original. I have NOT made any spelling changes, nor changed the format of Annie Mae's letter in any way). a.claypoole 11.5.05.

Letter by Annie Mae (Aquash)
November, 1975

Hello my family,
It is wonderful to write to you. I am actually pleased to be able to take the time to write to you all. I love you all very much. I am happy and doing fine. I am writing to you from the Vancouver, Washington jail but will be transferred to South Dakota within the next day or so to face trial there. Monday, the 24th of November is the big day. Contact Rapid City and you can find out how I made out and where I will be sent (Ha, Ha) then write to me. Matheline—I gave my silver ring to our attorney "Beverly Axelrod" to give to you. You are to deliver it to John. She ^(here an arrow pointing to the name Beverly) went back to San Francisco where she lives but I gave her your number. My health is perfect, my moral and spirit are even more than perfect. I've become stronger than ever. Kamook and I are in the same cell and that's makes it worthwhile. The whole incident happened because of informer A & B as the FBI refer to them in their report—which we saw yesterday—from the Seattle area—Informer A has informed on at least 100 incidents already and Informer B on 20 occasions. I hope the fuckers wake up some morning missing their jewels (depending on whether they're male or female) I'll have the lawyer send you the detailed report. I am going to drop my court appointed lawyer in Pierre and have my trial consolidated with Dino's and Nilak's. How did you like my new name? (Naguset Eask). It means Sun Woman. They asked my birthdate and I said In the Spring moon in the year 1945-They kinna thought I was obnoxious. What a redneck town we were arrested at—They thought Indians were reincarnated that nite (savage style of course) The goddam state patrolemen almost shit their pants-They almost shot Kamook & baby. She had to roll out of the patroleman's line of fire with baby-just 3 weeks from delivery too.
Page two
Of course they try to impress the public that they did not know and do not mention it in their report. But anyone 3 weeks from delivery is certainly going to be big and obvious especially 10' from a glaring spotlight-coming out with hand up and facing barrel of a shotgun and then being forced to lay on ground after reaching for baby. And that fucker knew about the baby because not only did he see the baby but the baby was screaming when he started firing directly at us. This is my only chance to swear at those bastard chicken-shit fuckers. My letter is going out through my lawyer and it will be the last uncensored letter I can write out so I am taking advante of it . After this all my letters will be read-going out & coming in. I would appreciate a personal hello to Ernie & Mark for me. And all my friends. I am already thinking of all sorts of games to pass the time away (like the moccasin game) One disadvantage of cutting my hair was-the patrolman that made me & others lay face down on highway kept referring to me as "feller." That insidious son of a bitch-if I was a feller-he would have know it for sure. They are of course going crazy in Oregon-They haven't had anything violent or vicious to do -(that they can justify, anyway) for at least 6 years, other than deny the poor, pick on drunks and refer to the Spanish as "wetbacks." They've been sitting around hating other states and growing wrinkles. The 2 patroleman were claiming that they got shot at-"I can hear the bullets whiz right by my head!", yelling into radio they became famous and brave overnight. That baby had more guts than they did. They are (words unreadable)
Page three
how they treat us here in Washington. There is a big Indian support group here. But I'm sure that as soon as I return to South Dakota I will be harrased. I am expecting some surprises there. They did not charge Kamook or I in the Oregon incident. But we are waiting for something sneaky. The FBI walk around with mirrors on their shoes in Oregon. They really watch their ass's (Ha, Ha) The State Patrol are naturally running around in confusion (like a chicken slaughter house scene) no heads. Being inferior to the FBI of course and then the U.S. Marshalls acting so diplomatic. And since we are in the custody of the U.S. Marshalls the Co. jail we are in are looking like a bunch of nuns and priests trying to impress the Pope who just flew in from the Vatican. These "enemy" are sure fucked up. Well so much for that. This jail is so cold I am sitting at this table with a blanket wrapped around me. We have a broken window that they tried to patch up but the winds are strong today. It dropped to 15 degrees last nite and I'm sure it colder today. On our way over here yesterday I had the opportunity to gaze upon Mt. Hood. What a beautiful sight. Got to sign off-lawyer to take letter out.
Love forever
Annie Mae (Aqu

link to annie mae's letter/www.anniemaeletter.blogspot.com 26.Nov.2005 14:50


indictments for looking cloud and john graham happened in march 2003.
it was that month that it became clear that a trial (s) would occur.

annie mae disappeared after her own hearing on Nov. 24, 1975. 30 years ago.
( am reposting because the above letter posted a bit full of typos, for some reason)

within her letter you will find inconsistencies in the testimonies of "witnesses"
in the Arlo Looking Cloud trial. reading of Annie Mae, from Annie Mae.
the haunting of her voice and spirit prevails.


Classic Cointelpro 14.Apr.2006 06:09

Monica Charles

For an article by a veteran of Wounded Knee etc. about Anna Mae and Arlo Check out:


The death of Anna Mae Aquash was the direct result of a war game played against the American Indian Movement by the FBI. The trial of Arlo Looking Cloud and the extradition of John Graham is the mop up.

Response to Claypoole 07.Sep.2006 07:54

the REAL family of Arlo

What makes you an authority on Arlo, his attorney, or what happened to Anna Mae? You write like an fbi operative. Which family member were you talking to? Didier, the FRENCHMAN, who claims to be Arlo's brother?? Maybe you spent a lot of time talking to Didier, the night you spent with him up in Rapid City, at Arlo's trial.