Prosecutors defend charges in Aquash murder case
The U.S. Attorney's Office in South Dakota is defending the charges against a Canadian man who is accused of murdering American Indian Movement activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.

Federal prosecutors indicted John Graham on three counts in connection with Aquash's December 1975 murder on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The third count of the indictment accuses Graham of aiding and abetting members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe with the crime.

According to Graham's lawyer, the third count was filed because prosecutors know he is not an "Indian" under federal law. Graham is Native -- from the Southern Tutchone First Nation in the Yukon of Canada -- but he is not a member of a U.S.-recognized tribe.

Prosecutors say Graham can be charged with aiding and abetting other defendants who are "Indian" under federal law. "A failure to find federal jurisdiction would give rise to unequal treatment of parties to a single transaction on the impermissible premise of race," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in court papers, the Associated Press reported.

Graham is due to go to trial February 24, 2009, along with Dick Marshall, an Oglala Sioux.

Get the Story:
Feds want to keep 3rd count in Pine Ridge slaying (AP 11/1)

Relevant Documents:
Order for Trial | Dismissal of John Graham Indictment | New John Graham Indictment

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