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Aquash murder defendant raises 'Indian' issue


A man accused of murdering American Indian Movement activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash is seeking to have one of the charges against him dismissed.

John Graham, who is Tsimshian from the Southern Tutchone First Nation in the Yukon of Canada, says he can't be charged with aiding and abetting for Aquash's December 1975 murder because he is not "Indian" as defined in U.S. law. Graham is not a member of a U.S.-recognized tribe and neither was Aquash, who was Mi'kmaq from Nova Scotia, Canada.

"Defendants who are affiliated with Indian groups not recognized by the United States government are not Indian for criminal jurisdiction purposes," one of Graham's attorneys wrote in a motion, the Associated Press reported.

Graham faces three counts total. The U.S. Attorney's Office in South Dakota has to file a new indictment because the judge handling the case said the original indictment didn't address Graham's "Indian" status.

Get the Story:
1975 AIM slaying defendant wants 1 count dismissed (AP 10/27)

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

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