Law

Spirit Lake Nation man maintains innocence for murder in 1983





A man from the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota continues to maintain his innocence for a 1983 murder on the reservation.

Richard LaFuente was 25 and living in Texas when he went to the reservation to visit family. Along with 10 other people, including his brother-in-law, he was accused of murdering a former police officer named Eddie Peltier, who died in a hit and run.

LaFuente was sentenced to life, the harshest of all the defendants. But he refuses to admit to the crime even if it means he would be released from prison on probation.

“I can’t show remorse,” he once said in court, The New York Times reported. “I won’t ask forgiveness for something I didn’t do.”

In the meantime, nine of the other defendants had their convictions overturned due to insufficient evidence. LaFuente has been unable to win a new trial but has drawn support from Peltier's sister and a filmmaker who plans to make a documentary about the case.

"It’s been too long. Eddie’s spirit won’t be able to cross over until the right ones are caught. And I want to get Richard out of prison. He didn’t do it. He had nothing to do with it," Andrea Peltier told the Times.

Get the Story:
A Steadfast Denial of Guilt, Backed by Victim’s Kin (The New York Times 11/11)