Law

South Dakota's highest court backs conviction in Aquash murder





The South Dakota Supreme Court today upheld the conviction of John Graham for the 1975 murder of American Indian Movement activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.

Graham, a Native man from Canada, was tried in state court for felony murder after efforts to prosecute him in federal court for premeditated murder were dismissed. He argued that his case shouldn't have been transferred because he was extradited from Canada on a different charge.

The court rejected the claim, noting that Canada consented to the charge in state court. The court also said Graham lacked sufficient grounds to challenge Canada's waiver.

Graham raised other arguments, all of which were rejected by the court. The claims involved testimony provided by other people who were connected to Aquash's murder.

Aquash was murdered on the Pine Ridge Reservation but elements of the crime occurred off the reservation in Rapid City, for which Graham was prosecuted.

Get the Story:
SD court upholds conviction in 1975 AIM slaying (AP 5/31)

South Dakota Supreme Court Decision:
South Dakota v. Graham (May 31, 2012)

Related Stories:
Man convicted for 1975 Aquash murder argues for reversal (03/20)
Native Sun News: Graham sentenced for Aquash's murder in 1975 (01/26)